Shelbyville City Council: Public hearing up next for trash, recycling plan

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Mandatory service, impact of new center dominate discussion

By Todd Martin

The Shelbyville City Council decided during a workshop Wednesday to move forward with a mandatory trash and recycling ordinance.

After combing through every line of the ordinance the council accepted a few comments from the four members of the public that showed for the meeting – and the consensus from that group was,– why mandatory? – the council said it would schedule a public hearing as the next step in adopting the ordinance.

“I drive my trash to [the] Waddy [Convenience Center] about once a month, and that’s – what? – maybe ten dollars a month,” Dave Mayhew said. “And I’m all for recycling. I recycle as much as I can. But by making it mandatory, you’re forcing me to subsidize someone else’s trash pickup [to make it less expensive].”

Added Roy Smith: “I don’t want anybody telling me I got to do something, I don’t like making it mandatory.”

Mayor Tom Hardesty and council member Shane Suttor both reminded those in attendance that the city wants to make it less expensive for everyone.

“If it doesn’t come in below what people are paying, then we’ll have done our due diligence for the citizens of Shelbyville and move on,” Hardesty said.

Suttor noted that this workshop, and an upcoming public hearing, for which a day and time for has not been announced, are just steps to find that price.

“We have to do all these things to find out what the numbers are,” he said. “We have to go through these steps, so we can get bids. We’re all just kind of waiting to see the numbers.”

One number many have expressed concern about is any administrative fee the city would charge.

As the council read through the ordinance, Hardesty noted that any fee would be as low as the city could set it.

“We don’t want to make anything not cost-effective for our citizens,” he said. “We’re looking at a minimal fee, like fifty cents or something, not two or three dollars, like some cities.”

The cost for the service would be added to city residents’ water and sewer bills, and no upgraded or additional software would be needed.

The concept of “mandatory” was approached at the end of the meeting, and a representative from one of the garbage companies said a non-mandatory franchise agreement is possible, noting that Anderson County offers that. What that means is that if a property owner wants home pickup, it must be purchased through the franchised company at the agreed-upon rate, but the property owner does not have to commit to home pickup and would be responsible for disposing of his or her own trash.

Several council members seemed open to that idea, but if enough residents chose not to participate, that could alter the price. And representatives from the trash companies said that kind of agreement likely would be billed through the franchisee instead of through the municipality.

“Can we get a bid with full participation and another with allowing citizens to opt out?” council member Donna Eaton asked.

Council members didn’t appear to believe that not many would opt out, and garbage company representatives agreed, noting that in situations like that they don’t often have many that opt out.

What about new center?

Shelbyville resident Stacie Rockaway asked why the city isn’t waiting to see how the community reacts to the new trash and recycling facility being built by the Shelby County 109 Board. That $3.2 million complex is scheduled to be finished later this year.

“I know the hearts of the council and the mayor are in the right place, but why move forward with this if we don’t know the impact of a new state-of-the-art recycling and garbage center is being built just one mile outside of town?” she said. “This new center will offer many more options for recycling and will encourage people to recycle more. And with trash drop-off at just three cents per pound, it will likely be cheaper than anything the city can offer.”

Suttor noted that the curbside service likely would appeal to most.

“Speaking for myself, I’m kind of lazy,” he said. “Just because I drive by the recycling center on Seventh Street all the time, I don’t always load up my recycling to take there. I think the majority would rather put it on the curb than put it in their car and drive it there. Having it curbside will encourage people to recycle and likely save them money on a service they’re already paying for.”

Bid particulars

Although the city has not put together bid specifics, and will take input from the community before moving forward, several points were discussed and will be included.

The ordinance includes a minimum of one can per household, with the option of another recycling can at no charge.

“We’re not forcing people to recycle,” council member Frank Page said. “But we want to make sure they have the option.”

Any additional cans for recycling or trash would cost extra.

The ordinance also includes a discount for senior citizens age 60-and-over, but it does not include any discounts for back-door or side-door pickup for those unable to roll the can out to the curb. That service would cost extra. Industries and commercial companies with Dumpster service would be excluded from the agreement.

The agreement also would have a large-item pickup, at least once a month, whether scheduled or by calling the franchisee.

Any garbage hauler other than the franchisee caught removing trash for others within the city could be fined up to $500 per occurrence.

And the city would be able to opt of the agreement, which could be up to 10 years, with a 90-day notice, and all rate changes would have to be approved by the council.