Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 11, 2017

Supervisors vote to retain rural sanitation collection sites

Sep 27, 2017

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Henry County’s four rural sanitation disposal sites aren’t going anywhere.

County supervisors, in an attempt to encourage more recycling by county residents, had considered closing the sites, which are located in each quadrant of the county. The supervisors, however, tabled the decision earlier this month.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, supervisors revisited the matter and unanimously voted to retain the sites. The county also has a central site in Mt. Pleasant where garbage and recyclables can be taken, but the central site is only open for a few hours on Fridays and Saturdays. The rural sites were established in the very late 1980s, supervisors said.

It became apparent that feedback from rural residents factored heavily into the board’s decision. Rural residents asked the county not to close the satellite sites during the discussion earlier this month and voiced the same opinion before the vote on Tuesday.

In the interim, supervisors said they received many calls from rural residents, who overwhelmingly opposed the closing.

“I have received numerous comments from the public,” began board chairman Marc Lindeen. “I have contacted a number of area counties, and nobody does it the way we do. Rural residents, in my mind, have a ‘Cadillac system’. There is nothing like it around.”

Supervisor Gary See said there is a common misunderstanding among residents that rural garbage and recyclable collection is funded through property taxes which isn’t the case. “It is paid through local-option sales tax (LOST) funds and stated that way in the purpose statement. There is no cost to county residents. ...I received a lot of negative response to closing the sites.”

So did Greg Moeller, the remaining supervisor. “I had a lot of phone calls and there was an overwhelming response to keeping the rural sites. It is nice to have the rural sites and also the central site for materials that can’t be taken to the rural sites.”

The sanitation program costs the county between $240,000 and $250,000 per year, supervisors said.

Dave Helman of rural Salem said rural residents appreciate the rural sites. “It is an excellent use of LOST funds. It is working and the people appreciate it. It is an example of good vision by the supervisors years ago.”

Don VanAmerongen, also of rural Salem, praised the supervisors for retaining the sites. “We have to be leaders, not followers. I appreciate your vote.”

Lindeen said the county will continue its efforts to bolster recycling by rural residents. Soon, residents will receive collapsible recycling containers free of charge. Lindeen said about 5,000 such containers are available to the county and hopes are to give each rural household two containers.

He also said that just because the supervisors voted to retain the rural sites, they also reserve the right to make changes in the program if necessary. “We have the right to make changes (in the program), per the county attorney. People have to be more cognizant of what they are doing at the rural sites because we have had some issues (with illegal dumping, etc.).”

In other agenda items, Henry County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss was happy to report that Winfield and Iowa avenues were now open to the public. Winfield Avenue underwent major reconstruction this summer and two culverts were replaced on Iowa Avenue.

Soon, Iowa Bridge & Culvert of Washington will be replacing two culverts on Nebraska Avenue between 230th and 235th streets. Hotchkiss said there will be a preconstruction meeting with the firm on Thursday.

“They have a late start date of Oct. 9 and work will take three to four weeks,” he said, regarding the replacement of the culverts on Nebraska.

Work by secondary-roads employees last week, according to the engineer, included seeding at various locations; pouring a concrete patch on Iowa Avenue; working on ditching and entrance pipe replacement; and hauling resurfacing rock to various locations.

Next regular meeting of the supervisors is tomorrow (Thurs.) at 9 a.m., in the Henry County Courthouse.

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