The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 11, 2013

No surprise about large-item pickup vote

By Scott Levine
Herald Associate Editor

---- — It’s not surprising how this week’s vote on large-item pickup went.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you already know I wrote two months ago about my apprehension in believing that it would be offered this year. Based on previous statements by city officials about their desire to stop the service, I saw this vote coming a long time ago.

It’s too bad residents are forced to pay for a service (37 cents per month per figures distributed by City Administrator Jessica Kinser in June when the city decided to increase solid waste fees) they don’t receive. Sure, 37 cents per month isn’t much, but I wonder if the city will refund that total to its citizens?

I won’t hold my breath...again.

But it’s not the cost or the fact the city can’t help its residents with one minor thing. It’s the lack of accurate information coming out of City Hall.

I may not agree with At-Large Councilman Charlie Mulholland on his views regarding large-item pickup. But I respect the fact he’s willing to come out against it. That’s his opinion and he doesn’t mind sharing it. I know where he stands on the issue.

I wish there was a little more clarity with other city officials.

Throughout this ordeal with large-item pickup, there’s been mass confusion coming from the city.

We’ve heard about numerous communications from residents saying they were told by city officials there wouldn’t be large-item pickup. We also heard from the city there would, including an email I received in August from a City Council representative that said there would be the program in the fall.

So, when one side says two things, and decides on one, does it make it right? No.

Sure, the request for proposal didn’t turn out like they had hoped. Then reissue it, per Kinser’s discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.

The excuse that there wasn’t enough time to make a decision on large-item pickup is an insult to residents’ intelligence. On March 27, the City Services Committee met to discuss the future of large-item pickup.

On Oct. 9, the Clinton City Council nixed the program, based partly on having more time to formulate a better plan in the spring and wanting to avoid bad weather in November.

From the beginning of the discussion in March to Tuesday’s meeting, it took 194 days for the Council to make a final decision. From now until the first day of spring is 160 days. If you’re going to say that 194 days isn’t enough time, how is 34 less days going to work?

And what about that awful November weather that we’re all worried about? The average high goes from 54 degrees at the beginning of November to 40 by the end. Not quite balmy by Iowa standards.

Also, that threat of precipitation or snow? The average rainfall is less in November than in October when the large-item pick up was supposedly slated for this year and snow is unlikely on average in November. The last two years, there’s been no measurable snowfall in November.

Could it snow in November? You bet. Could it snow in October? I’ve seen it. Could I accidentally poke myself in the eye with a pen? I’m sure some people would like that.

Just because it’s possible, doesn’t mean it’s likely.

And just because the city says it will provide the service in the spring, doesn’t mean that’s likely, either.

Weekly picks

Since I took some time off moving last week (staying in Clinton to all the people who were hoping otherwise), I failed to make my picks. No sweat, though, since I’m coming back this week with a vengeance.

Like always, feel free to go toe-to-toe with me, and log on to and click on the College Football Sweepstakes. If you do well, you will be in a drawing for a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift certificate.

Alabama vs. Kentucky; Boston College vs. Clemson; Missouri vs. Georgia; Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss; Florida vs. LSU; Oklahoma vs. Texas; Baylor vs. Kansas State; Iowa State vs. Texas Tech; Virginia vs. Maryland; Navy vs. Duke; Syracuse vs. North Carolina State; Georgia Tech vs. BYU; Pittsburgh vs. Virginia Tech; Nebraska vs. Purdue; Kansas vs. TCU; Tulsa vs. UTEP; Indiana vs. Michigan State; Eastern Michigan vs. Army; Western Carolina vs. Auburn; Buffalo vs. Western Michigan; Miami (Ohio) vs. Massachusetts; Northwestern vs. Wisconsin; Rice vs. UTSA; Michigan vs. Penn State; Marshall vs. Florida Atlantic.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at