The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 27, 2013

Large-item pickup's future undecided

By Katie Dahlstrom Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — Large-item pickup remains on the schedule for this fall, but city officials want to know if a private company could better provide the service.

They also want stiffer penalties for people who violate the program rules.

During the City Services Committee meeting this week, Grounds and Facilities Superintendent Tom Krogman told committee members his opinion regarding what should happen to the program hadn't changed.

"I'd like to see it go away for a year, but if it's council's wishes not to then I think we need to change the rules. We need to mandate what can be put out since we have the 95-gallon trash containers now," Krogman said. "I think a lot of things have been put out in the past that could fit in those 95-gallon containers."

The program was reduced from two times a year to just one fall pickup last year. It took six employees using four trucks and two unloaders a total of five weeks to complete large-item pickup.

Ward 4 Councilman Paul Gassman echoed Krogman's sentiments as he sat in on the meeting, saying taking a year to reevaluate the program was not meant to underserve Clinton residents.

"I don't think anybody said to get rid of the program forever. When we looked at what happened last year where we had the storm and we had to hire people to help, the whole thing was just turned upside down," Gassman said. "The fact that we have less people and other problems right now, it just made sense to skip it a year. And ending it a year turned into we're ending it forever and punishing citizens and that's not what the intention was."

At-large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf, who served as the stand-in committee member, said she did not want to see the service go away because enough citizens use the service as it was intended. Instead, she suggested contracting the services to a private entity, attaching concrete dates to the program and issuing harsher penalties to rule-breakers.

"Why can't pursue the idea of contracting that out and having private services do it and giving them a window?" Graf asked.

At-large Councilman John Rowland was also interested to see how a private company would provide large-item pickup

"We as a council need to have tighter regulations where there would be more substantial fines rather than the process we have now of a letter and then go back and check again. We need to be a little more forceful about what our ordinance is," Graf added.

The ordinance and the fines attached to disobeying is set to be discussed by the Rules and Regulations Committee.

At-large Councilman Charlie Mulholland, like Krogman, felt the program should be discontinued for a year and wasn't interested in privatization.

"We've had people for years and years not obey the rules," Mulholland said. "And as far as enforcing the rules, I don't think we have the manpower to do that in any way, shape or form and if we contract that out, that's another nightmare."