The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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July 25, 2013

Cart delivery sparks debate

CLINTON — Tired of absorbing the costs of solid waste customers who cancel their solid waste service and later have the cart returned, the city is looking into a solid waste cart redelivery fee.

The City Services Committee on Wednesday discussed the fee because the city has a number of customers that cancel their service only to have it restarted months later. Many of these customers are people who travel to warmer areas for the winter and don’t want to be charged the $5.25 monthly solid waste fee while they are away.

“We’ve come into the situation where we have snow birds in town where they have it and then they return it and then they want it back and then they return it. That’s a little bit of a pressure on our staff to go ahead and redeliver,” City Administrator Jessica Kinser said.

She explained the cost for the city to pay two people for one hour of work to redeliver the carts costs the city $75. That figure does not account for overhead costs such as fuel.

According to city staff that fields the calls from people canceling and restarting solid waste service, around 50 people ask for carts to be redelivered a year.

Kinser told committee members it was up to them to decide if the redelivery is part of the customer service associated with the solid waste program or if they want to implement a redelivery fee.

Ward 3 Councilwoman Bev Hermann pushed for the latter.

“I think there should be an additional fee. It’s not part of the service. The service is to pick up the solid waste and we got the cart to them in the first place and they have it there to use,” Hermann said.

At-Large Councilman John Rowland disagreed, citing the city’s potential exit from the solid waste business once the city receives proposals for providing the services.

“I’m not interested in doing anything on this because I fervently hope the quicker we got out of the garbage business, the better,” Rowland said. “I’m very hopeful that in six months we’ll be out of the garbage business.”

The committee didn’t decide on a cost for the redelivery fee, but did move the item to the next Committee of the Whole meeting for all council members to discuss.

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