WARSAW — Residents once again came to the Warsaw Common Council to complain about the new trash pick up. The council heard from a small handful of residents Tuesday evening, July 5, who indicated issues, but who had not contacted the public works for a solution.
Tony Braber, East Center Street, Steven Coy, North Columbia Street, Alisha Rhodes, Sheridan Street; and Chad Zartman all spoke before the council with various concerns. Zartman presented council members with 59 signatures from four areas of town and reported having 171 additional signatures from an online petition.
Mayor Joe Thallemer told each of the residents the public works will look into the situations for possible solutions. Stressed was the fact residents need to contact public works with problems so solutions could be found. Several council members stated a lot of the complaints heard do not include locations, making it hard to find remedies.
Final thoughts on curbside waste were stated by Thallemer. During the statement he noted 70 percent of the communities in the state charge user fees for curbside pickup, an average of $168 per household a year. “Warsaw does not charge a fee,” he said, adding the automatic system has “allowed the city to reduce trash expenses by $200,000 a year.”
Addressing the suggestion of leaving things the way it was, Thallemer said “to charge a fee makes no fiscal sense whatsoever. None. Municipalities across the state have improved efficiencies and reduced expenses.” He noted curbside pickup in Plymouth (who has a 96 gallon limit and charges a fee), Columbia City, Nappanee and Winona Lake. “This isn’t something we dreamed up to decide we were just going to do to make people mad.” Further Thallemer stated “We’re doing every thing we can to avoid a monthly user fee.”
He addressed complaints the totes not being large enough and forced recycling. “Not enough space in a 96 gallon tote for one household is ludicrous, if they take advantage of free curbside recycle,” Thallemer stated. “Many communities limit garbage pick up and charge fees by the bag to encourage recycling. Warsaw does not force recycling.”
“It has not been two months. We expected a three to four month adjustment, given landlords a six month grace. We work every day to help residents adjust and improve the program,” Thallemer said.
He encouraged residents to bring in the totes, neighbors to assist neighbors and to contact the city if there are problems. “Be a part of the solution,” he encouraged.
Following the mayor’s statement, Jeff Beeler, public works superintendent, gave a presentation answering why the program was done, showing photographs of the trash found through the old system. Some photographs showed piles of trash that would fill one garbage truck.
The presentation also clarified concerns based on incorrect information. Several recycling concerns were also addressed.
During other business council members approved:
- An ordinance to issue two checks per year to employees for cellphones due to a glitch in the payroll system.
- Approved the reduction of encumbrances in the amount of $2,499,212.47. These are funds encumbered from the 2015 budget, but not used.
- Approved the continued tax abatement for Milestone AV.
- Granted a 10-year tax abatement for Wildman Uniform.