Contractors create problems at compost site
By Bert Lehman
Clintonville taxpayers are on the hook for the cost to dispose of brush and compost being dropped off by landscaping contractors, some possibly from other cities.
Clintonville Public Works Director Kray Brown informed the Street Committee at its May 2 meeting that an issue arose due to contractors dropping off compost and brush at the city’s compost and brush site. Brown said people have told him some of the contractors come from outside the city.
Last year the city didn’t have to pay to have the brush at the site chipped, but this year the city will have to pay for that service.
It will cost the city around $4,000 to chip up the material at the site now, and that money isn’t in the city’s budget, Brown said.
“If we have to pay for this now, if contractors are coming from outside the city, then the city residents are picking up the tab on this,” Brown said. “Well that’s not fair.”
Brown said most municipalities don’t allow contractors to get rid of their brush at a city site, even if they are doing work for a citizen in the city. Some municipalities charge contractors a yearly fee to use the site.
Street Committee Chairman Jim Supanich asked how the city would police the site if it charged contractors to use the site, or banned contractors from the site.
At minimum, Brown said the city should gate the site.
“CAWS is all fenced in so there is nothing going on there,” Brown said. “But the rest of the site, yes, it’s wide open. … We are having some issues with garbage in our materials. It’s not happening when CAWS is open, it’s happening at night.”
Supanich asked if this would mean access by residents would be restricted.
Brown said, yes, adding that one option would allow residents to be able to use the site during specified hours.
Another problem is stumps are being dropped off at the site, and the city can’t grind the stumps, Brown said.
If the city decided to charge contractors a fee, it would create a revenue source for the city to cover the costs of chipping the material, Brown said.
He added that city residents wouldn’t have to pay to dispose of brush and compost at the site.
Committee member Lance Bagstad said he was concerned about limiting times when residents can drop of brush and compost.
Supanich asked if residents could be provided with a code in order to use the site after hours.
Brown said that was possible, but the code could then be given to non-residents.
Supanich agreed, but said the city is trying to inconvenience its residents as little as possible.
Clintonville City Administrator Chuck Kell told the committee that when he worked in Little Chute, the municipality fenced off its brush and compost site and a computer system was installed to allow residents to access the site with a card. Residents were charged $20 per season for the card. Contractors were not allowed to purchase a card.
He added that if Clintonville decided to use this option it wouldn’t have to charge residents for the card.
Supanich said he was in favor of charging contractors to drop off brush and compost, but he wanted residents to have access to the site.
Bagstad requested that information be provided to the committee at its June meeting about how other communities handle their brush and compost sites.
The committee decided to discuss the issue again at its June meeting.