No decisions yet in Clintonville
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville City Council discussed the pros and cons of changing the way garbage and recycling pick-up is done in the city.
Prior to the discussion at the July 12 council meeting, Clintonville City Administrator Chuck Kell stressed that no recommendations or decisions have been made regarding changing the city’s garbage and recycling pick-up. He said the issue was previously raised by a prior council and Street Committee.
“We had discussion at a couple of meetings but it really didn’t go any farther,” Kell said. “It has resurfaced. The mayor has asked for this issue to be looked at.”
Kell said two private garbage and recycling haulers are currently charging citizens of Clintonville $23 per month per customer, while another is charging $28.
After researching the issue, Kell said the city could provide the service for around $13 per month per customer. This figure also includes the city building a budget reserve for the potential purchase of a brand new truck in 10 years.
Through his research, Kell said if the city put the garbage and recycling pick-up out on bid for private haulers to bid on, he thought the final bid would come in around $11 per month per customer. He wasn’t sure if carts would be included in that figure.
Whether the city decided to provide garbage and recycling pick-up as a city service or bid it out to one hauler, Kell said it would provide a savings to most of the citizens in the city. He acknowledged that this would probably be a little more expensive for those citizens who currently haul their garbage and recycling to Clintonville Area Waste Service (CAWS).
When Kell presented his analysis to the Clintonville Street Committee on July 5, his analysis stated that the city would lose its expenditure restraint revenue from the state, which amounts to $85,000-$90,000 per year, if the city contracted with one private hauler or the city provided it as a city service. Kell told the council that since that time, he found that would not be the case.
“If we do this service as a special revenue fund, the expenditures don’t go under the general fund, they don’t get reported to the state under the levy cap, and they don’t get reported on the expenditure restraint program,” Kell said.
If a special revenue fund is used, all of the operations of the program have to be funded by the special revenue fund and by the user fees of those using the service, Kell said. This would mean no tax money would be used for it.
“I think that’s great news,” Kell said.
Kell also addressed the issue of the Municipal Cooperation Agreement it has with Clintonville Area Waste Service (CAWS).
“Their operation is currently relying on revenues from people bringing garbage and recyclables to their site,” Kell said. “In order to change that relationship, if it’s necessary to do, it requires a formal resolution adopted by this council, and that has to be adopted 18 months before the fiscal year that you intend to change this service. That puts the ability to implement something like this quite a ways out.”
Kell said if the council ultimately decides to start its own service or contract with one private hauler, it may be able to negotiate with CAWS to get out of the agreement sooner. He said the city may be able to provide a supplement to CAWS with the savings the switch would bring.
Kell acknowledged that he didn’t know how much usage CAWS gets from Clintonville residents, or how much revenue the city brings to CAWS. He said the contract states Clintonville represents 70 percent of the operating expenses of CAWS.
“I just want to make it very clear that a decision hasn’t been made on this,” Kell said. “This is all study and analysis at this point. … I think we’ve given you the basics but there are some more things to be determined.”
Council President Mike Hankins said it appears as though there are a lot more questions than answers regarding the issue. He added that he has served on the CAWS Committee and this issue will cause some sensitivity with CAWS.
“We have to reassure the townships that at this point no decision has been made and we have a lot of research to do,” Hankins said.
He added that the agreement with CAWS is more than just an 18 month notice.
Alderman Lance Bagstad said he agreed that more research needs to be done, but he thinks the city should continue to do that research.
“The longer we pound on the streets with multiple haulers the bigger issue we’re going to have with our streets,” Bagstad said. “I think that’s one of the big reasons that, we as a street committee continue talking about this.”
Hankins said it was not a smooth transition when the city decided to stop providing garbage and recycling pick-up as a service to residents. But at the time, when the city discussed contracting with one private hauler, there was a strong reaction from citizens.
“Individual residents wanted to have a choice on who they get,” Hankins said. “Maybe that has changed, but I don’t know. I think it’s important to know a little of the history as we move forward.”
Clintonville Mayor Lois Bressette responded, “Something has to be done to start looking at the negative impact that these trucks are having on our streets.”
Hankins said he was in favor of saving the city’s streets.
“I understand there is wear and tear on streets. We have wear and tear on streets from a lot of stuff,” Hankins said.
Hankins said he is also in favor of lower costs for citizens.
“But people get excited when we start talking about this stuff. I think we need to be careful and we need to do our homework,” Hankins said. “We have a lot of things in this equation that we’re guessing at.”
The Street Committee will continue to discuss the garbage and recycling pickup issue.