Council takes no action on municipal trash/recycling proposals

After lengthy discussion, the Red Oak City Council chose to take no action on an agenda item seeking proposals for curbside trash and recycling collection.
The discussion was raised after the council approved a price increase from Batten Sanitation for servicing the five recycling bins in the community, at a cost of $3,750 per month through June 30. Red Oak Mayor Shawnna Silvius said with the increase in rates, now was the time to look at potential municipal service agreements for trash and recycling and seeking proposals, in an effort to help in cleaning up the community.
Batten Sanitation vice president Lynette Bruce was in attendance at the meeting, and highlighted Batten’s 40 years of service with the Red Oak community. Bruce said she doubted a local bid would compete with an outsider to the community.
“Batten Sanitation does not want to give up, but we cannot compete with a big corporation. However, you’re not going to get the personal care a small town business gives, and having spoken with other communities that hired outside collection for the lowest bid, they’ve been rudely treated and surprised at how the prices went up,” Bruce explained. “Please give careful consideration and some time into making a decision like this, and allow us to have the opportunity to help the community with the decision.”
Bruce added the reason for the increase in their recycling rates is because there’s no market for it, and they are charging $100 per load for dumping the city’s five recycling bins, and each of the five bins was emptied once per week.
Councilperson Brian Bills questioned the need for curbside recycling, as the global demand has diminished.
“If there’s no global demand for recycling materials, and it costs us more to dispose of them, I wonder whether we’re doing the right thing in pursuing municipal recycling. I am all for recycling, but not if we’re just spinning our wheels and spending our money,” Bills commented.
As for municipal garbage service, Councilperson Jeanice Lester said the conversation of a mandate for trash pick up had been discussed, but the conversations did not go well and no action was taken.
Bruce advised the council that whether or not the city chose to have municipal garbage collection and recycling, it wouldn’t cure laziness, and those who didn’t want to clean up, still would not.
Silvius countered that in the communities that she spoke to and lived in that had municipal garbage clean-up, it did help clean up those communities, because the residents had to take out their garbage.
Bruce said she would assist the city with whatever decision it chose to make, and she urged the city to take more time before it made a decision about potentially pursuing municipal garbage collection and recycling services.
Councilperson Scott Keith, who has daughters in Omaha and Council Bluffs who use municipal garbage collection, said that he had heard from both that it was problematic.
Lester said she wished to learn more about the demand for recycling before the council considered a pursuit of municipal recycling collection.
Councilperson Tim Fridolph said he wasn’t comfortable on taking action on either option without more information.
“I feel like further discussion is warranted. I’m not in favor of putting out a request for proposal right now, and I don’t feel like we have enough information,” said Fridolph. “Nothing has been prepared, and when I saw this was just for discussion, I didn’t have any plans to take action at all.”
Bruce reiterated that if the city needed any help at all, she would be glad to help.
Further discussions on the services are slated for a future council meeting.

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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