City of Monona turning over solid waste collection duties

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Starting in July, Monona will turn over solid waste collection in the community from its own city workers to Town and Country Sanitation. 

The city council approved a contract with the Boscobel, Wis.-based company at its May 20 regular meeting.

Although pleased with the level of service the city has been able to provide residents and businesses, mayor Lynn “Marty” Martinson said the move will be more cost-effective in the long-run, saving on paying personnel, landfill fees, vehicle operation and repairs. The city, he noted, has also been unable to save enough over the last few years to replace the current garbage truck.

“We’re saving the city from borrowing $275,000 for a new truck,” he said.

But councilman Preston Landt questioned that, suggesting the change will actually cost the city $15,000 more each year.

“We’re not saving anything,” he said.

That reasoning doesn’t take a new truck into account, though, said city administrator Dan Canton. The current truck is 10 years old and has required an increasing amount of maintenance.

“Basically, through 11 months, we’ve only made $8,000,” he explained. Realistically, around $12,000 should have been put away each year to purchase a truck. “What we’re doing now, we’re going backward. This number is not sustainable.”

“One reason we picked them,” he added, “was that their fee to pick up [residential accounts] was very competitive.”

Monona currently has 625 stops on its garbage route. Residents pay $19.50 each month, including recycling collection, which is done by Waste Management. 

Canton said transitioning solid waste collection to Town Country will require a slight rate increase. At the meeting, the council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would  up it by $1.

“Their structure is a little bit different than the city’s,” he stated, “but we tried to apply their rates to what we’re currently collecting.”

Even without the change, Martinson said rates would’ve likely gone up.

“If we’re going to stay in the garbage business, we’d have to raise rates regardless if we want to put money away for a new truck,” he remarked.

Martinson said he’d like to see the ordinance passed in the coming month, before the contract with Town and Country goes into effect on July 1.

Under Town and Country, people will still be able to put out two 40-pound garbage cans. Garbage will be collected on Thursdays. That would make Monona’s first collection day with the company July 4, but due to the holiday, it will be July 5 instead—a day later for that week only.

Canton said the city will continue to invoice customers, but if people plan to put out any large items, they will now have to contact Town and Country directly to have them picked up and to determine the cost.

The contract with Town and County Sanitation is for five years. Martinson said it has a 60-day out clause, in the event the new arrangement does not work out.

Contractors selected for Gateway Park utility work

The council approved price quotes with two contractors for extending sanitary sewer, water and electrical utility services to seven proposed spaces in the Gateway Park RV site. Ethan Koehn Construction was selected to complete part of the work at a cost of $6,825, while Palmer Electric will do the remainder at $4,979.

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