The Mt. Pleasant City Council met in regular session on Wednesday, January 10th, for what turned out to be a fierce meeting. The main topic on the table was the trash pickup in the city, which turned many heads.
In what looked more like a crowded theater of movie goers, many showed up to voice their concerns. A Mount Pleasant resident, who has lived here since 2015 and has means of private trash hauling, asked if he can opt out. The mayor mentioned how the opt out option was considered between the board, but they will not go down that route. If water is on at a residence, the owner of that residence is charged for trash pickup.
The resident then asked if a bid was held, and the mayor said that the prices are reasonable with WEMIGA Waste and Lance Refuse. He also thinks that local haulers are more likely to serve responsibly, and had they chose out of town businesses, they might have hurt the two local haulers.
Regarding the question of a sticker buyback program, the council did confirm that the city will purchase stickers from residents back. That will be credited to their account. For businesses, they will buy them back with money. Extra stickers will be sold in City Hall if businesses run out before the change in February.
Councilman Engberg addressed the room, “Stickers are gone” and mentioned how it is not equitable. Due to recent work comp claims, the councilman said that they were told they are not allowed to let workers throw trash into garbage trucks, or hang off the side, as it may cause injuries. He then said that the council is attempting to please the majority of the town, but they know not everyone will be happy.
According to the council, the sticker system was cheap, but it was deficit spending for the city.
A question was posed about the size of the container, and if a smaller can is available. Washington has a 35-gallon container that is only a few dollars cheaper, and they pick it up every other week. These containers are not liked by the hauling services as they tend to get moved in the wind.
Councilman Engberg promised that he will have meetings and attempt to find a way to help out those who do not use much trash. He said that the council is listening, and hears the citizens concerns who were in attendance.
A citizen urged the council to communicate better and encouraged more detail and description in their meeting agendas. The public has been assured that all public meetings will now be published on the Mount Pleasant City Council’s Facebook page, as well as continuing with the website.
For those who are unable to bring their trash to the curb, the trash hauler will pickup the trash from the property for an extra fee.
The contract can still be amended and adjusted at this point. Nothing is set in stone. One councilman said that they will continually assess the program and will tweak it as needed.
A citizen did say that the appreciate the opportunity to voice their concerns, and a second said this system needs to “be more fair.”
Councilman Batty spoke on the importance of these meetings, which are open to the public. “Come back for our budget meeting” which is coming up in a few months.
One community member summed up the night well. “It seems that people do not want to pay for what they are not using.”