The city’s newly purchased automated garbage trucks will hit the streets within the next few months, but not before Clinton Public Works officials make sure the new computer system works according to plan.
Public Works Director Gary Schellhorn told the Clinton City Council during the Committee of the Whole session Tuesday that 100 homes would be selected as a test trial for the new system. How that test goes will factor into whether officials can make their goal of full implementation by the end of May.
That trial period could help ease the concerns some council members have about implementing the newer, more high-tech garbage pickup system. Councilwoman Jennifer Graf, at-large, reminded the council of the headaches caused by a software error that led to several sewer bills never being sent to Clinton property owners.
“I don’t think we want to take any chance of that happening again,” she said.
The details of the trial period will be featured in the next city newsletter, Schellhorn said. The city will need to develop a list of all Clinton residents who wish to use the city’s service as opposed to an independent service.
“As you know, this is not a mandatory service,” Schellhorn said.
The proposal to go to automated pick-up met some resistance last fall from independent trash service customers who feared the city was trying to force residents to use their service.
The city has insisted that is not their intention. Their hope is to cut down on work-related injuries and pick up trash more efficiently. They also claim that some residents will see some savings, since pick-up costs will be calculated by how many times the new, larger cans are picked up instead of buying stickers.
Because of the larger can size, officials say residents who do not produce as much garbage could put their cans on the curb fewer times a month.
Regardless of whether residents pick up the city’s service, all will be eligible to receive a bin for yard waste, which the city will pick up and dispose of for free. Once that system is established, open burning of yard waste in most of Clinton will become illegal.