Dates for the pickup of debris on city equipment beyond regular trash collection by Van's Sanitation have yet to be selected. As in years prior to 2002, all items must be set curb-side on the publicized Sunday night. City crews will follow the routes of regular trash collection by Van's Sanitation.
No charges will be assessed to residents for the additional pickup this year, the council decided Tuesday. The collection is to take place before the July 1 increases in fees at the Plymouth County landfill, which will be assessed to the city.
An additional change in the clean-up process will be required by changes at the landfill, explained Scott Langel, city administrator and engineer.
Five city trucks, each carrying a different type of materials picked up from curbsides, will need to stop at each location. Landfill officials had been notified more than a year ago by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources of the need to enforce regulations in separating types of materials.
The details of when the collection will take place and the requirements for Le Mars residents were assigned to Charles Eufers, head of city public works. (Editor's note: Eufers was unavailable by press time, due to a family bereavement.)
Councilmen Ken Nelson and Rex Knapp voted against the free collection. Nelson pointed out that the City of Le Mars pays for about 80 percent of the landfill's costs under the current pricing structure. The budget for the City's fiscal year already shows the landfill payments about $60,000 "in the red," Nelson said. He told fellow council members he did not agree with the additional collections from residents without some sort of additional payments.
"You have to pay for what you get," said Nelson. "When you do something extra you've got to pay for it."
Knapp explained that Le Mars garbage rates already were the cheapest for regular collections among neighboring municipalities such as Sioux City and Sioux Center.
Council members agreed it was a difficult situation. Mayor Virgil Van Beek agreed it was particularly a problem with the $160,000 shortfall in state funds anticipated for the City. He said the city-wide collection would be paid in the long run by all taxpayers.
Elaine Doorenbos told fellow council members she also had received calls about the issue. Some residents said they had never participated in the pickups, while others wanted it. She noted that past years showed lighter loads for city crews due to individuals driving the streets, selecting refuse for their own use.
Langel told the council he estimated pickup was take seven work days for city crews on the single pass through the city. Hiring Van's Sanitation to do all pickup is not an option as company officials told him they did not have the equipment required for such a project.
Councilman John Rexwinkel advised costs be tracked by the city staff for this month's clean-up efforts to develop a system for next year.