CAWS, city talk trash
More discussions planned in Clintonville
By Bert Lehman
The Street Committee for the city of Clintonville and the Clintonville Area Waste Service (CAWS) Commission met in a joint meeting Tuesday, Aug. 30 to discuss the future of garbage and recycling pickup in the city of Clintonville.
It was the first time the two groups met together since the city first began discussing in early July, future garbage and recycling pickup in the city.
Prior to any discussion Clintonville City Administrator Chuck Kell provided everyone in attendance a brief summary of different options the city has discussed for the future of its garbage and recycling pickup. Kell said based on information the city has gathered, he believed the city could save money if it hired a single private contractor for refuse pickup.
Saving the city money, as well as reducing the number of garbage trucks driving on its streets were the two objectives for conducting the study, Kell said.
“In doing that analysis I’ve identified the CAWS agreement as a potential major issue,” Kell said.
According to the Municipality Cooperation Agreement for Recycling and Waste Disposal the city has with CAWS, to withdraw from the agreement the city of Clintonville needs to notify CAWS of its intentions to withdraw 18 months prior to the fiscal year the city wishes to withdraw.
Street Committee member Jim Supanich asked if the 18 month notice was required if the city decided to contract with one hauler, but continued to let citizens use CAWS if they wished.
It was agreed that the CAWS facility would still be needed by city residents to dispose of tires, waste oil, furniture, appliances, oil filters, scrap iron and other metals, and demolition materials.
Street Committee member Lance Bagstad said during Street Committee conversations committee members hoped the city could continue a partnership with CAWS, while at the same time reduce the number of garbage trucks on city streets.
Supanich stressed that the city hasn’t decided on a final plan or any specifics of a plan yet.
Bob Hoffmann, a member of the CAWS Commission, wondered if CAWS would survive without the city of Clintonville.
“With only two townships involved, I don’t know if that would be enough to keep the place going,” Hoffmann said.
Hoffmann also shared revenue figures for CAWS. He said CAWS breaks even on disposing of most items like tires, oil filters and appliances with Freon in them. It has to pay 25 cents per gallon to dispose of waste oil. Last year CAWS received around $9,000 in revenue selling scrap iron, but the price of scrap iron has decreased significantly since then.
Regarding recyclable items, Hoffmann said CAWS has to pay for hauling to dispose of brown glass. It receives $1 per ton for clear glass. Collected cardboard goes to the Waupaca County processing facility in Manawa, and that site receives the revenue. The revenue for tin cans stays with CAWS.
Kell said the big unknown is how many city residents will decide not to use the CAWS site if their cost for garbage and recycling pickup is cut in half if the city contracts with a signal refuse hauler.
Julie Stumbris, chairwoman for the Street Committee and the CAWS Commission, said based on conversations with some residents they pay $5-$10 per month because they don’t generate much garbage.
Clintonville Mayor Lois Bressette asked how CAWS survived when the city of Clintonville used to pick-up garbage for its citizens.
Hoffmann said CAWS was subsidized at that time.
Bressette said the city would still be better off if it went to a single refuse hauler and provided CAWS with a subsidy.
“I don’t know if we can negotiate some kind of subsidy when we go down to a single hauler?” Bressette asked.
Bressette said the city needs to take into consideration wear and tear that multiple refuse haulers put on city streets.
“We can’t continue down this road in regard to the number of haulers coming in,” Bressette said. “We have to start looking at some kind of an agreement here because our city can’t afford to replace and repair the streets we have now. And if we continue with these garbage trucks driving around, we’re going to be driving on gravel streets at some point.”
She added, “We have to come up with some kind of solution here.”
Bagstad said it may be possible to include CAWS in any proposal requested to reduce costs for CAWS as well as citizens of Clintonville.
Debbie Krogwold, recycling coordinator for Waupaca County, informed those in attendance that CAWS provides one-third of the county’s recyclables, so that revenue would be lost for the county.
Bagstad said as a resident of the city and a city official elected by city residents, his main concern is what the cost of refuse pickup is to citizens today and in the future.
“We don’t want to lose CAWS, but the city has to do what the city has to do,” said Greg Hanson, a member of the CAWS Commission. “If this is what you have to go through, this is what you have to do and we’ll make do. We’ll figure out what we have to do out there. I really don’t think we need to argue too much.”
He agreed that it might be possible to include CAWS in proposal bids by refuse haulers.
Strumbris said she hopes the city can remain a part of CAWS, and that both entities can benefit from the city seeking a single refuse hauler. Hanson acknowledged that the townships may have to also opt out in the future to pursue a single garbage and recycling hauler.
“We have three or four in our township coming down the roads,” Hanson said.
Clintonville City Council President Mike Hankins said the trend for recyclables is a single stream system where recyclables are co-mingled. Recyclables are currently separated at the CAWS site.
“It’s kind of the way we’ve done it for 30 years,” Hankins said. “I think looking forward it’s going to be more of that model (single stream). That’s another change we’re going to need to account for or adapt to.”
After more discussion, members from the Street Committee and CAWS Commission agreed to discuss the issue separately, and then discuss again at a joint meeting the end of September.