City eliminates residential recycling, garbage

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     After almost three hours, the Monticello City Council was firm on eliminating residential garbage and recycling (the recycling decision was voted on at their last meeting), but found it hard to make a decision regarding a sign and new sidewalk, both that do not comply with city code.

     The council voted unanimously to contract with Republic for both residential recycling and sanitation services.

     After the previous council meeting, a committee was formed to discuss residential sanitation. The consensus of that committee was to eliminate the city’s role in garbage, with employees better utilized in other city departments.

     As of July 1, the city will no longer provide garbage services. Those residents who have purchased city garbage bags are encouraged to continue using them; do not purchase additional bags. City Administrator Doug Herman said if you run out of city bags between now and July 1, the city will still pick up garbage in any type of bag.

     With Republic taking over both services, the city will still serve as administrator, and will still bill city residents.

     Rolling Sanitation used to provide recycling services in Monticello. Their contract has expired, and Republic will immediately pick up where Rolling left off. Residential garbage will begin July 1.

     The change eliminates the need to purchase city garbage bags, and Republic will provide two 65-gallon carts for residents, one for recycling and one for garbage. Residents will receive carts, but are not required to use them for garbage if they feel strongly against it.

     “Rolling’s bid was less, but they were not interested in supplying carts,” noted Herman.

     In addition, Republic is offering to pick up one large item a month for each resident. Herman said that offer might allow the city to revisit whether citywide cleanup is still needed noting some abused the service.

     Residents were paying $14.16 a month for garbage, recycling and yard waste. The fee would change to $14.50 a month, with a $3 city administration fee added.

     “If the city continued with sanitation,” said Herman, “we’d definitely need to address a rate increase and staffing.”

     “Our current rates do not cover our costs at all,” voiced Council member Dave Goedken.

     Herman also noted that the employees in sanitation maintain the highest rates of workers comp. Moving them into a different department would reflect in the city’s overall budget.

In other city business:

     • Herman brought a newly constructed sign on County Road D-62 to the council’s attention, noting the sign does not meet city code. The sign, constructed on Dave Schoon’s property, was built on a fence. Herman said Public Works Director Brant LaGrange did not permit the sign, which is in reference to an on-premise business. He added that the sign does not qualify as a monument or role sign.

     Schoon brought many examples of signs throughout the city that also do not comply. However, those signs have five years from the passing of the city ordinance (December 2015).

     Schoon said the sign measures 32 square feet and stands 11 feet high. For a monument sign, the requirement is 36 square feet and 15 feet high.

     Herman said it doesn’t qualify as a monument sign, but could fall under the definition of a pole sign, with permission from Planning and Zoning.

     The council felt the sign looked appealing, it just wasn’t permitted. Schoon said he put his application in and was given verbal permission to proceed.

     “You need to follow the rules,” voiced Council member Butch Pratt. “We have too many variances without reasons.”

     Schoon said his sign falls within the city guidelines. “You can’t just pick and choose which signs you like and don’t like,” he said.

     Council member Johnny Russ felt Schoon’s sign was fine, and just encouraged him to take his application to P&Z. “I don’t see why we’re splitting hairs over this,” said Russ.

     Herman offered to contact the members of the P&Z to see when they could schedule a meeting before the next council meeting.

     • Sidewalks in the Northridge Addition and in front of a commercial building on W. First St. have been brought to the city’s attention as not being ADA compliant. To bring both sidewalks into compliance would require significant removal and costs.

     “I don’t see why we pick on 50-year-old sidewalks when new sidewalks aren’t even in compliance,” questioned Goedken of the sidewalk-marking project throughout the city.

     City Engineer Patrick Schwickerath said if the city chose to do nothing to the complaints reported, they could be sued if anything happened on those sidewalks.

     “New construction should comply with the standards,” added Goedken. “If it exposes the city to liability, it needs to be addressed.”

     Herman said perhaps the city code should be modified to meet ADA/federal standards.

     Two separate motions to bring the Northridge and W. First St. sidewalks into compliance failed due to lack of a second. Herman said the homeowner in Northridge wants to finish the project and start landscaping as soon as possible. “You need to at least make a decision,” he urged the council.

     While the council could not come to a consensus, Herman offered to write up and file a waiver with the homeowner signing off and stating the city would not be held liable should something happen on the sidewalk in question.

     “Absent making the situation right, this is the next best thing,” he said.



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