Council responds to garbage concerns

Facebook posts are sticking up for a local garbage carrier as the City of Monticello looks at a possible switch to a single-hauler system.

The posts – like “if you support Young’s Disposal, let the city know” – don’t come right out and say they think the situation stinks, but the message has gotten through to Alderman Wendall Brock.

“We’re just getting hammered by people because they don’t understand the situation,” said Brock at the July 9 city council meeting. “A number of people are thinking we are in some way trying to force Young’s disposal out of business. That is not what we’re doing.”

Young’s Disposal Services, located in Cisco, is seen as the little guy when compared to the larger Area Disposal of Peoria and Decatur-based Advanced Disposal. All three currently have licenses to provide services in Monticello, which currently allows residents to choose between the three carriers.

The city began talking about its waste hauling ordinance in January, partly because companies now discourage use of a sticker system that allows payment by the bag – an option that appeals to low-volume customers. Most are now using monthly subscription fees instead.

In March, the council directed City Administrator Terry Summers to draft a request for proposal that would be open to all haulers but result in the hiring of just one, saying a contract with a single carrier is the best way the city can stipulate terms like dictating prices for stickers.

A proposed RFP will likely go before aldermen on July 23. Summers said that, while the document has one hauler in mind, it does not automatically mean the city will switch from its current three-company format.

“Unlimited haulers can bid, but the city has the right to reject any or all bids,” he said. “So when the backlash occurs, if the city council wants to reject all bids they can do that.”

Any change to the current garbage hauling ordinance would not go into effect until January of 2019.

Brock said many of the complaints he saw on Facebook were also from residents critical of losing the right to choose their own garbage carrier.

Sell recreation land?
Brock also thought the city should consider selling the 31 acres of land it owns near the Appletree Subdivision. The land was purchased in 2009 for $436,500 with plans to use it as a recreation complex.

But nine years later, Brock wonders if the city will ever find the money to fund it.

“I believe we can sell it for a profit because of the (infrastructure) work we’ve done on it, and I think we could take what should be close to half-a-million dollars and put that into the streets and roads and sewer system fund, and make some improvements around town that need to be made,” he said, adding the 31 acres could be an ideal spot for new housing.

A sale will likely wait at this point, however, since engineers are already working on mapping it out as a recreation complex, and should have a cost estimate to the city by the end of the year.

In other news, the board:

–heard the Monticello Farmer’s Market hours are 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. each Thursday;

–was told a delay in state permitting will push back construction of a pedestrian walkway across Market Street to next spring;

–heard a proposal to convert four parking spots on the north side of Subway from unlimited to two-hour parking. A vote is likely on July 23; and

–was told the next Courthouse Rocks event, featuring music by Bad Medicine and a free showing of the movie “Coco,” is set for this Saturday night.

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