Mitchell contemplates recycling change

The future of Mitchell's recycling service is up in the air. After receiving bids from current recycling collector Dependable Sanitation, of Aberdeen, and Mitchell-based Petrik Sanitation, Public Works Director Tim McGannon told the Mitchell City...


The future of Mitchell's recycling service is up in the air.

After receiving bids from current recycling collector Dependable Sanitation, of Aberdeen, and Mitchell-based Petrik Sanitation, Public Works Director Tim McGannon told the Mitchell City Council his department recommends switching to the automated single-stream recycling from Petrik.

During Tuesday's regular meeting of the Mitchell City Council, the eight-person board decided to wait until its next meeting to decide what to do with the city's recycling service.

The difference between Petrik and Dependable, McGannon said, is Petrik would provide a covered bin larger than 90 gallons in which all recyclables can be place without the need for separation. Dependable, on the other hand, provides an 18-gallon bin in which recyclables have to be separated.

Michael Erickson, of Dependable Sanitation, said the shift to an automated single-stream system wouldn't be as significant as the city predicts.


"You're not changing the system other than you're getting a new can," Erickson said.

But Dependable didn't offer a bid for single-stream service, while Petrik offered a bid of $289,992 per year for three years. Dependable Sanitation did, however, offer a lower bid for curbside pickup at $285,600 compared to Petrik's bid of $310,224.

While some council members wondered if some Mitchell residents would struggle to move a bin larger than 90 gallons, City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein said most larger South Dakota cities are moving toward single-stream service and McGannon suggested more Mitchell residents would find the Petrik service more convenient.

"I'd say for the average citizen it's easier just to go out and throw everything in a brown container than it is to put your newspaper in a paper bag and you're glass in a different paper bag and this and that," McGannon said.

According to McGannon, Petrik would also provide bins at no cost to Mitchell residents, and the single-stream service - which isn't sorted on the street - could reduce the amount of broken glass on the street.

Despite McGannon's comment, Councilman Mel Olson wondered if citizens really need a 90-gallon bin rather than the existing blue bin.

"I have no idea cubic feet of the little blue guy, but that seems to be pretty adequate for most people in town," Olson said. "So why in the world would you even consider a 96-gallon container?"

One other option, Olson said, is dropping the recycling service altogether, saving the city more than $280,000 annually over the next three years. If recycling were scrapped, McGannon said each household could save $3.30 per month.


Prior to the end of a lengthy discussion on recycling, Councilman Jeff Smith said he'd like to digest the information, hear from constituents and bring this discussion to the table at the next council meeting.

"I think it'd be worth our time to at least spend - since we've got the 45 days - maybe spend at least another few weeks, gather some more information and then make a decision at that point in time," Smith said.

Quote process questioned

After narrowly losing some fuel quotes to an out-of-town company, Mitchell-based Meyers Oil representatives question the public quote process by which the city's fuel is purchased.

Tom Meyers, of Meyers Oil, asked the city if it could approve a slightly larger quote his business offered over a quote from Country Pride Cooperative.

"I just hate to see $100,000 leave the city to save the city $300," Meyers said, referencing a year's worth of quotes rewarded to other fuel providers.

But Meyers was met with a firm "no."

According to City Attorney Justin Johnson and former State Legislator Olson, the city's hands are bound.


"What I would say to that is it's not permitted under state law," Johnson said.

In its latest quote to provide 1,300 gallons of two different types of diesel and 4,900 gallons of unleaded gas, Meyers Oil's quote was bested by a mere $94.45.

And while multiple council members noted it would be nice to support a local business, the city determined it needs to fall in line with state law.

"I think everybody here on the council would like to see the money stay in town, I really do," Robinson said.

Olson and Robinson also agreed Meyers could take his concerns to a current state legislator to pitch a plan to overhaul the existing quote and bid laws.

Consent agenda

The council approved the following items of the consent agenda:

• City Council and Public Properties Committee minutes from the Dec. 19 meetings.

• The designation of The Daily Republic as the official newspaper for the city of Mitchell in 2017.

• A raffle permit from Mitchell Main Street & Beyond for the Veterans Park project, with the drawing to be held on May 4.

• Set the city and school election for June 6.

• Pay estimates, bills, payroll, salary adjustments, new employee hires and the authorization of payments of recurring and other expenses in advance as approved by the finance officer.

Agenda items

The council will consider the following agenda items:

• Met as the Traffic Commission prior to the City Council meeting and approved the creation of a bus parking space on the 1300 block of North Kimball Street.

• Called the meeting to order, conducted the Pledge of Allegiance, heard an invocation from Grace Baptist Church and conducted the roll call.

• Councilman Jeff Smith, who nominated Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg for The Daily Republic's Person of the Year, recognized Overweg for his efforts.

• Heard the Traffic Commission report.

• Established the official depositories for the city of Mitchell in 2017. The vote to approve was unanimous, and Smith abstained.

• Approved Resolution R2017-01, a resolution of intent regarding an airport terminal lease.

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