The Clinton City Council’s Committee of the Whole discussed amendments to the solid waste ordinance Tuesday night to allow for compatibility with the new automated trash pickup service.
Several amendments were discussed, including one that would require yard waste to be placed in a city-provided container. For composting purposes, yard waste longer than six inches or with a diameter greater than one inch would not be accepted and would need to be bundled separately.
An amendment requiring the use of disposable bags in the new city-provided garbage containers caused some discussion. City Attorney Jeff Farwell said he included the amendment to prevent people from scraping food or other waste directly into the containers.
“All I was thinking of was the worst case scenario,” Farwell said, adding that food and other decomposing trash could create smell issues around the containers.
Public Works Director Gary Schellhorn said that most people would use disposable trash bags in the containers anyway, and that it wouldn’t necessarily cause problems if bags weren’t used.
“I’d like to think some common sense prevailed on it,” Schellhorn said.
“We can’t legislate everything,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Vulich.
Fourth Ward Council Member Paul Gassman moved to strike the amendment from the ordinance.
Schellhorn also reiterated the city’s intentions to refund any unused trash removal stickers that will be rendered obsolete by the new automated system. The stickers, which cost a dollar, allow residents to mark trash bags for removal by city workers. With the automated system, which uses a mechanical arm to pick up specially designed carts, the stickers will no longer be needed.
“They will be refunded,” Schellhorn said. “We will not require people to take that loss.”
He said that the details were still being worked on, but residents and businesses that sell the stickers will likely be able to obtain refunds at city hall.
The proposed amendments, with the exception of the one requiring the use of disposable bags, will be added to the agenda of the next city council meeting.
In other action, the committee:
• Agreed to support a project by Clinton Jr. Baseball to build a new storage and administrative center.
Mark Schroeder, chairman of the Parkland and Facilities Development Committee, said the project would allow Clinton Jr. Baseball to move from an outdated building with numerous security and weather-proofing issues into a more suitable environment. He said that the cost of the project would be covered through fund-raising efforts and donated labor.
“Unanimously, the committee felt that this was a good idea,” Schroeder said.
At Large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf said the project sounded benefical to the Jr. Baseball program, but wanted to know who would pick up the rest of the tab should the program be unable to raise the money.
Schroeder said his understanding was that construction would not take place until the funding was secured.
“My understanding is that they have all their ducks in a row and then they build,” Schroeder said.
• Agreed to refer a request to establish an advisory committee on commemoration of the 1965 flood to the City Services Committee.
Schroeder also spoke on behalf of this request, saying the Parkland and Facilities Development Committee felt it was prudent to prepare an event, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the floods, in 2015.
He said that the formation of the committee was only in the planning stages and that he was merely seeking permission to consider the project further.
“We didn’t really define who or how many yet,” Schroeder said.
• Agreed to consider a suggestion from the Rules and Regulations Committee regarding minimum monthly sewer billing at the next city council meeting.
City of Clinton sewer bills are determined from water billing records that are billed out in 100-unit increments. Currently, the minimum amount a user can be billed is 500 cubic feet per quarter.
The Rules and Regulations Committee suggested going to a minimum bill of 300 units per quarter, or 100 units per month.
This would replace the current minimum bill of 500 units per quarter, something that would be incompatible with a monthly system.
City Administrator Jeffrey Horne said the city could make the switch from quarterly to monthly billing as soon as the end of the year.
“Maybe sooner than that,” Horne said, “but we want to make sure we get it right.”