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City's proposed garbage change sparks opposition

Leaders propose grandfathering in private services for homes after complaints

MitchellGarbageBins.jpg
Mitchell garbage bins are pictured along a city street. (Republic file photo)

The city of Mitchell's proposed change seeking to require all household residents utilize the city’s garbage collection services sparked plenty of backlash Monday during the Mitchell City Council meeting.

The council will hold a second reading during the Nov. 4 meeting at City Hall, where they will officially decide whether the city would require all residents, excluding large residential complexes, to utilize the city of Mitchell for its garbage collection services.

To reduce heavy traffic and road maintenance costs, Public Works Director Kyle Croce said requiring all residents to pay for city garbage collection would be another step toward improving the city’s street conditions. Despite the potential of the garbage collection change benefiting city roads, a handful of citizens and private garbage collection companies voiced their concerns with the proposed changes.

“The amount of garbage trucks on the street does really affect the maintenance of roads, whether you believe that or not,” Croce said. “We’re not saying one company or another is responsible for the decaying of roads or alleyways. There are a lot of trucks on the roads, and this would essentially reduce that number of trucks on the roads and alleyways.”

Under the existing ordinance, city residents have the option to choose between a private garbage collection company or utilize the city of Mitchell’s garbage collection services. For large residential complexes — which are defined as multiple family residences or complexes that have eight units or more — the ordinance change would give them the option of being treated as a commercial operation instead of residential. That would allow them to contract garbage pickup separately.

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Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson said a concern that’s arisen from the public over the course of the past few days is the city taking away the private pickup option from current users. In response to the criticism, Everson said the city has proposed allowing people who currently privately contract to keep their service.

“Anyone who contracts a private hauler as of Oct. 15 can maintain that private hauler,” Everson said.

According to Everson, all commercial accounts would be required to utilize a private garbage company.

Council member Steve Rice took issue with the change, more specifically the amendment that’s being proposed in the ordinance.

“Say I own a complex, and I have a renter who had a private hauler but changes to the city’s services at some point, that address can’t have a private hauler anymore,” Rice said. “People could change their contracts with how economics change.”

In reference to the amendment change, Croce said it’s an administrative nightmare for the city. Since taking over as Public Works Director, Croce said the city's garbage collection process has not been organized well in past years.

“It’s taken me a year to get this resolved for the city to the best of my ability,” Croce said, pointing to similar-sized South Dakota cities that have a garbage collection system like the city of Mitchell is proposing. Yankton, Watertown and Aberdeen all require city residents are charged with city garbage collection.

In regards to the concerns of reducing private garbage haulers' business, Croce said the new ordinance would open up 1,400 accounts that could be handled by private garbage companies.

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“After talking with a private hauler, the apartment buildings would be handled by private collectors, which I think actually promotes the business aspect of this,” Croce said. “I understand there are a lot of concerns about driving private business away, and that’s not the case. That’s not our goal.”

According to Croce, approximately 300 accounts are currently utilizing a private collector for residential garbage collection, while the city has more than 5,500 accounts using the city services.

There are currently two private garbage collection companies in the city of Mitchell, which are Miedema Sanitation and Petrik Sanitation. The owners of those two businesses weren't completely on board with the change. Larry Petrik, owner of Petrik Sanitation, said he wasn’t notified of the city’s proposed change prior to the council meeting.

“I am a little upset I wasn’t notified by the city about this, and I could have at least gotten a phone call,” Petrik said.

Everson took responsibility for the lack of notification, and apologized to Petrik. Jeff Miedema, owner of Miedema Sanitation, said the majority of his customers who contract his company for their garbage collection services are outside of city limits. But he noted there have been increasingly more areas in the city that his company takes care of.

“We have a lot of customers who have special requirements for their garbage collection, and we are here to provide services that can accommodate,” Miedema said. “There are some areas in town that you, as the city, don’t pick up garbage, and I don’t want to lose those customers. I just think people need a choice.”

Local resident Dan Beukelman said he's one of those property owners with special collection needs, and appreciates having a choice. Beukelman owns housing complex with multiple units, and he takes care of the garbage collection contracts for his tenants.

“When I had city garbage, I had garbage cans next to a garage that would blow over at times. I contacted the city, and they would not come to retrieve them,” Beukelman said. “I can handle that when I’m around, but if I’m gone, it’s challenging to drag garbage cans back up to where they need to be when they blow away.”

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The issue prompted Beukelman to seek Petrik Sanitation to see if they could accommodate his requests, which he said they did. In addition, Beukelman shared the same concern Rice raised regarding the grandfather amendment. Beukelman said it’s common for residents to move from time to time, and he worries if each new resident decides to change from private garbage collection to the city’s that it would threaten Mitchell’s two private garbage hauling businesses.

“Average properties change hands roughly 23 years, and you would decrease the private haulers' business to a point where it wouldn’t make sense for them to do business,” Beukelman said. “I think it’s a bad road to go down when we start trying to get rid of private business, and the reason I went to the private business was because they provided the service I needed when the city wouldn’t.”

Consent agenda

The following items were considered as part of the consent agenda:

  • Approved the minutes of the Oct. 7 council meeting.

  • Approved the minutes of the Sept. 23 Planning Commission.

  • Approved department reports.

  • Approved the following raffle permits: Gertie Belle Rogers PTA with the drawing to be held on Nov. 2, 2019; Mitchell Aquatic Club with the drawing to be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through 2020.

  • Set the date for the following bid openings: Oct. 25, 2019, for a Mitchell Airport snow removal project No. 2019-53; Nov. 7, 2019, for Hayland Leases-Landfill, park land and waste water project No. 2020-5.

  • Set the date for the following hearing: Nov. 18, 2019, a proposed resolution for the improvement of South Wisconsin and Quince streets.

  • Approved change order No. 3, East Central Drainage project No. 2018-39 to Menning Backhoe, LLC.

  • Approved appointing the following board members: Mark Graham to the Golf and Cemetery Board for a three-year term that expires in 2022; Lynette Shattuck to the Golf and Cemetery Board for a three-year term that expires in 2022

  • Approved firework permit for Nov. 9 Hairball concert at the Corn Palace.

  • Approved request to apply for land and water conservation fund. The $25,000 grant application would be used to fund the proposed Dry Run Creek Skatepark upgrades, which includes a concrete pool and street course addition.

  • Approved to declare surplus for the Public Safety Department’s handheld radios, computer scanners, copiers, computer printers and video recording devices.

  • Approved change order for Phases II and III of the Sanborn Boulevard project to H&W Contracting, LLC.

  • Approved Oct. 21 pay estimates.

  • Approved bills, payroll, salary adjustments and new employee hires.

Other business

  • Pledge of Allegiance, received invocation from World of Life, roll call, heard citizens’ input.

  • Approved consent agenda.

  • Tabled agreement No. A2019-46, 223 N. Main St. rental agreement. The agreement will seek to finalize the city transferring the Crafty Fox building at 223 N. Main St. to the Mitchell Area Development Corporation in the amount of $1.

  • Approved agreement No. A2019-47, a rental agreement that would allow Dakota Wesleyan University to rent the 223 N. Main St. building in the amount of $150 for two weeks. DWU will be holding a Halloween fundraising event during that time span.

  • Approved the hire of Doug Greenway as the new Corn Palace Director.

  • Met as Board of Adjustment.

  • Set the date for the following hearings: Nov. 4, 2019, Mark Bigelow, Partner MRS, LLC and EIG Palace Mall owner's application for a conditional use permit to construct self-service storage facility buildings with various compartment sizes, ranging from 50 to 400 square feet, for household and commercial storage located at 1801 N. Main St., aka the Palace Mall. The real property is zoned a Highway Oriented Business District in the city of Mitchell; Nov. 4, 2019, Steven and Leann Jendersee's application for a backyard variance of 3 feet vs 5 feet for constructing an addition to their existing detached garage located at 123 S. Mentzer St. The real property is zoned (R2) Single Family Residential District in the city of Mitchell.

  • Held hearing and take action for the following application: Ronald Fessler's application for a side-yard corner variance of 10 feet vs. 20 feet as required and a backyard variance of 22 feet vs. 25 feet as required for constructing an addition and garage at 1107 W. Seventh Ave., legally described as east half of lot 1, block 3, Bracy's Addition, city of Mitchell. The property is zoned R2 Single Family Residential District.

  • Reconvened as City Council.

  • Entered into discussion with airport consultation company.

  • Considered awarding a $72,788 bid for two additional basketball hoops at the Corn Palace. The city budgeted $60,000 for the installation of the hoops.

  • Approved awarding the low bidder, Puetz Corporation, for completing Phase II of the Corn Palace Plaza.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-72, a plat of lot M1-C, a subdivision of a portion of previously platted lot M1 in the northeast quarter of section 15, township 103 north, range 60 west of the fifth prime meridian, city of Mitchell.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-73, a plat of lot 10, block 4 of Woodland Heights First Addition, a subdivision of lot 2, Crane’s Addition in the southeast quarter of section 34, township 103 north, range 60 west of the fifth prime meridian, city of Mitchell.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-74, a plat of lot 23 of the Island First Addition, a subdivision of the southeast quarter of section 31, township 104 north, range 60 west of the fifth prime meridian, city of Mitchell.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-75, a plat of lot 45 of the Island First Addition, a subdivision of the southeast quarter of section 31, township 104 north, range 60 west of the fifth prime meridian, city of Mitchell.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-76, a plat of lot 50 of the Island First Addition, a subdivision of the southeast quarter of section 31, township 104 north, range 60 west of the fifth prime meridian, city of Mitchell.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-77, a Plat of lot J, a subdivision of previously platted lot south of Maui Farms second addition, city of Mitchell.

  • Denied Resolution No. R2019-78, vacation of the alley right-of-way described as the south half of the North-South alley in the 700 Block of West Seventh Ave., Block 24, Rowley's Second Addition.

  • Held hearing on the following: a proposed resolution regarding necessity for construction of Sam Street from Maui Drive to the northwest direction approximately 900 feet.

  • Held first reading of Ordinance No. O2019-24, changing the zoning district classification of the Real Property legally described as lots 12 and 13, block 8, Applegate Addition, from Transportation, Warehousing, and Commercial (TWC) District to R2 Single Family Residential District, in the city of Mitchell.

  • Entered into an executive session.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICSBOB EVERSON
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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