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Council discusses city trash problem

October 9, 2018

David City officials are in the process of discussing how to best tackle the overflowing waste problem that some said has been an ongoing issue for the better part of a decade.

Council member Skip Trowbridge said during an interview with The Banner-Press that piles of trash continue showing up in various miscellaneous locations around town. The issue, he said, is widespread; with people finding piles of trash placed in their private trash containers, commercial bins filling up with public waste and ditches housing bags of trash.

Ten years ago, Trowbridge said that former city administrator Joe Johnson completed a waste study that involved reaching out to different trash collectors doing business in David City to see how many customers they served. At the time, it was determined that 30-40 percent of David City residents weren’t utilizing any sort of formal trash service.

“This is something that we have been dealing with for some time,” Mayor Alan Zavodny said during a Sept. 26 committee of the whole meeting.

Trowbridge said that though there are some situations where people dispose of their waste at relatives’ homes or at their place of employment, the sheer number of people not using trash services continues to be alarming.

“It’s an eyesore and a health issue when you get right down to it,” Trowbridge said.

Recently, Trowbridge said the city contacted the various trash operations servicing David City to once again gauge the amount of customer use they were receiving, however, the council member said that not a single one provided a response to the inquiry.

Approximately five waste services coming from David City, Columbus, Shelby and Lincoln service the town and dump local waste at the landfill located about 4 miles east of David City, Trowbridge added.

While Trowbridge acknowledged there’s no simple fix to the problem at hand and that continued discussion will likely take place for some time before any potential action would be taken, he said that he’s proposed the idea of contracting a single waste collection service to pick up residents’ garbage.

“We really need to investigate what it will take to get 100 percent of our people to get their waste to a licensed facility. That is really the question before us that we have to answer,” he said. “… We will have to have that discussion and see where it takes us. The problem is, it takes us to where a lot of people don’t want to go. Where you simply have one hauler and he visits every residence which streamlines everything.”

Currently, Trowbridge said trash services are able to do business in David City by paying an approximately $50 franchise fee, one which the council member said he believes is too low.

About 10 years ago, Trowbridge added that some discussion took place with the City of Wahoo to contract one trash provider that would split a five-day trash pickup schedule between David City and Wahoo – a 2-and-a-half-day rotation that would have reduced some of the issues, he said.

However, he noted that at the time, a city council member – no longer on the council -- was an independent trash hauler and became upset with the notion which led, at least in part, to action not being taken.

If one trash contractor could be retained, Trowbridge said it could actually have a cost-benefit to residents in conjunction with eliminating much of the trash clutter frequently seen around town.

“I think we would get a lower price than people are paying now, and then it could be billed through their utility bill,” he said.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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