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City council talks trash

Staff writer

The law caught up with Marion trash trucks Monday as the City Council passed an ordinance authorizing twice-weekly pickups that have been taking place since the first week in July.

Administrator Doug Kjellin re-instituted the twice-weekly pickups when the existing ordinance dictated the once-weekly schedule in effect for the past 14 months.

“I forgot that the schedule for pickup is set by ordinance,” Kjellin admitted.

“At the same time, I think the decision is valid. To me it’s intuitive, but going through the numbers we really did not see any savings in fuel,” Kjellin said.

Council member Todd Heitschmidt said the tonnage of trash collected each week hasn’t changed, which might account for the negligible difference in costs.

Workers were reassigned to do alley repairs during the once-weekly schedule, but frequently had to be put back on trash detail to cope with the extra volume of trash on pickup days.

“We got some alleys fixed up,” Kjellin said. “But I’d lose that efficiency on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I had to have a third person on the truck.”

More blowing trash, dogs getting into curbside trash, and more missed pickups were other problems Kjellin said would be eliminated by returning to twice-weekly pickups.

The ordinance passed unanimously.

Ramp refuse

Trash crews were too efficient for Chris Brewer, who was present to ask for compensation for two loading ramps he claimed were disposed of mistakenly.

“Last Friday my new mower ramps came up missing. I thought somebody had just nabbed ahold of them until I realized it was trash pickup day,” Brewer said.

Kjellin confirmed the ramps were picked up during regular trash pickup. Brewer said the mistake has created a hardship for his mowing business.

“My new ramps that got crushed in the trash were less than six months old,” Brewer said. “Without them I can’t load to mow.”

Brewer said the ramps were 15 feet away from the trash to be picked up, but Kjellin said the driver of the truck reported they were only 6 to 8 inches away.

“If they were 15 feet away from the trash, they shouldn’t have been picked up,” council member Chris Meierhoff said. “In that instance I would be upset, too, if they were that far away, but we don’t know. It’s he said, he said.”

“I’d like to have our city administrator talk to a couple more guys and then get back with you,” Mayor Mary Olsen said.

Kjellin said he could investigate the situation Tuesday, and the council directed him to meet Wednesday with Brewer to resolve the issue.

Road Rage

Lloyd Meier appeared during the public forum period to address a dispute over land ownership and right of way involving a section of Arbor Street leading into Jex Addition.

According to Meier’s deed, he owns Lot 1 in Jex Addition, and a portion of Arbor Street crosses the lot. The city contends it received a portion of the lot for right of way from the county, but the language describing the arrangement was inadvertently omitted from deeds since 1960.

In an effort to resolve the dispute, Kjellin offered Meier a quit claim deed for $1.

“He would still have the quiet enjoyment of the property but would be relieved of paying any taxes on it. That was not acceptable to Mr. Meier,” Kjellin said.

“It is acceptable, but not for a dollar,” Meier responded.

“We had that discussion, and I think your offer was $50,000,” Kjellin said.

“You slap me in the face, Doug, I’m going to slap you back,” Meier retorted. “When you offer me and my wife a dollar, it’s just like a slap in the face.”

“I apologize — it wasn’t meant to be that way,” Kjellin said.

“I’m willing to work with you, I told you that in the past. You never came back to me,” Meier said. “And I was told I would get a letter to be here tonight, and I never received that.”

Kjellin: “No, that was not promised at all.”

Meier: “OK, I know what you said, Doug.”

“Your three minutes are up,” Olson said.

“That’s the reason I wanted a letter and I didn’t get it,” Meier said.

In other business:

  • Chief of Police Tyler Mermis presented a list of 13 recommendations for changes to the fireworks ordinance. City attorney Susan Robson will use the list to draft a revised ordinance for consideration at a future meeting.
  • Hett Construction was awarded a $19,664 contract to repair the alley in the 100 block of South Main Street between Third and Second streets.
  • Ransom Financial Consultants was contracted to write the city’s Community Development Block Grant proposal for an amount not to exceed $4,000.

The next council meeting is Aug. 6.

Last modified July 26, 2012

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