Waterloo looks for resolution to recycling crisis | Political News

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WATERLOO — Public works staff has come up with a new alternative to maintain the city’s recycling program without requiring residents to participate in the curbside collection program.

Waterloo City Council members are expected Monday to determine how to proceed with the service after recycling processors indicated they would no longer take the city’s glass, cans, cardboard, paper and plastic unless they were picked up in a dedicated recycling bin.

Public Works Director Randy Bennett had initially proposed hiring Republic Services to handle the curbside collection and make the program mandatory for the city’s roughly 23,000 households.

The current program costs residents $3 per month for monthly recycling and more frequent curbside yard waste collection. The initial proposal was to boost that cost to $8 per month under a mandatory program.

A vote was postponed last week after several residents who use the city’s drop-off recycling sites objected to being forced to use and pay for a curbside container. Councilman Pat Morrissey also opposed outsourcing the collection current handled by city employees.

Bennett has returned with a plan to keep the curbside collection voluntary but boost fees on all users to enhance the drop-off recycling bins and fund additional staff to keep up with backlogged sanitation work.

“Our citizens deserve better service than we are currently able to provide,” Bennett said. “While the initial mandatory curbside pickup option presented would allow us to most optimally address all the issues, we believe the voluntary option with the additional provisions outlined will allow those issues to be adequately addressed.”

The proposal would require all city garbage customers to pay $5 per month to support the city’s drop-off recycling program and yard waste site. Those wishing to have curbside collection of those items would pay an additional $4 monthly.

Bennett is also requesting a 10 percent hike in regular garbage collection rates, which haven’t seen an increase in 17 years.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers on the second floor of City Hall. Other scheduled business includes:

– A “ban-the-box” ordinance which would make it illegal for employers to ask about a job applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional job offer is made. The measure was tabled last week because of potential language revisions in the ordinance.

– A request to seek proposals from companies interested in managing the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. The Ramada hotel’s decades-old contract to manage the city-owned building expires at the end of this year.



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