Garbage plan moves forward
Fairbury city leaders have voted to move forward with outsourcing garbage service to a third-party company.
During Wednesday night’s regular meeting, the City Council chose to go with a waste management company known as GFL Environmental. Though the company has a presence in Peoria, it has several operations spread across the United States and Canada. Each resident will get a 95-gallon container for trash and another for recycling.
“The recycling would include not having to sort,” explained Fairbury Mayor David Slagel.
The city will continue to do a bulk item, such as a couch or table, per week and continue handling business dumpsters, brush pickup and recycling every other week. The user price for Fairbury residents is $14 per month with a fee of $6 per yard for commercial. This is up from the current $10 rate, but the city says rates would have gone up anyway to keep up with rising costs.
Another bid was “substantially more money,” according to the mayor, which is why they leaned toward GFL. The city has pointed to hiring issues and more stringent requirements as reasons for the decision.
“We are having difficulty hiring and have been trying to hire for the (garbage) position for a long time and not really getting any candidates,” Slagel said following a previous committee meeting in March.
“Our cans are getting heavier,” noted Street Superintendent Martin Steidinger.
The anticipated start date for collection from GFL is Aug. 1 which allows time for the company to distribute containers and do other prep work. Steidinger said the dumpster system must be changed so they are accessible for one person to handle.
Local business owner Rick Wilson, who operates Fairbury Furniture, asked about the plan for his business since they haul away furniture and mattresses. Steidinger replied that would be a part of the bulk collection but a charge would be likely. Slagel said more meetings will be held to decide the specifics as Wednesday’s decision simply means the city is moving in this direction regarding trash collection.
Alderman Bruce Weber expressed concerns over more charges and suggested the city come up with ways to help everyone without extra fees.
“We don’t want to run out our small businesses,” he said. “We need to help them while we can.”
Slagel feels this option keeps city workers off the back of a truck while allowing the city to retain some control. Even though the public will see a $4 increase, city council members consider this a good compromise.
Alderman Charles Hoselton made the motion to go with the GFL proposal.
In a separate action, the city approved a quote from Kafer Tiling for $9,540 to assist with a sewer main replacement in the north alley of west Locust Street between Third and Second streets. The main is in bad shape and work will likely take place this summer.
City Council members authorized the replacement of two pumps at the water treatment plant for approximately $34,000. Water Superintendent Mike Mellott reported one of the pumps has water pouring out of it and is not repairable while the other has a hum to it and concerns him. These devices pump water to the tower.
“It takes our finished water and pumps it out to the town,” Mellott explained.
Alderman Jim Tipton asked how long the pumps last and Mellott said they last a while.
A maintenance fee was approved for the dump body on a Western Star dump truck owned by the city. This is the new plow truck which was purchased in 2018 which is starting to rust. It will be sandblasted with a bed liner installed, just short of $2,200.
“There is salt in it all winter and chips in it all summer,” observed Steidinger.
The group decided to table amending an ordinance relating to parking motor homes, trailers and boats. This would reword the parking surface and location of parking, although concerns have been shared about it interfering with parking for the Prairie Dirt Classic.
“I know the Prairie Dirt needs a lot of places for campers, it’s getting so big,” stated Alderman Weber.
City Attorney Steven Mann said the council can waive a permit requirement for special events such as the PDC race in the summer. Council members will further discuss the issue and review the ordinance closer.
“I think we should have a committee meeting,” said Alderman Jerry Hoffman.
Alderman Charles Hoselton seemed to agree.
“We need to do a little more research before we do anything and do it right.”
James Tipton shared a request he received from the late Carol Aberle’s family regarding the installation of a new park bench. Family members and the Fairbury Garden Club want to put money toward the bench in Aberle’s memory. They will talk with Nancy Widlacki and Brett Ashburn at City Hall about possible locations and what type of bench to use.
A resolution was authorized setting the amount of city payments for sidewalks and commercial parking areas. The city’s cost is going to $2.50 per square foot.
The consent agenda was approved, including the treasurer’s cash report, check register and voucher invoice register listing the bills. A sidewalk request was granted for 107 North Seventh Street for 337.5 square feet at the new price per square foot.