Bottom Row: Dan Olson, Tom Fennessey, Warren Bender, Jack Sweeney, Denise McDonald Top Row: Graham Garfield, Bob Finsland, Mike Herrick, Dennis Dalbec, Esther Dalbec | Explore Superior

Mayor Achieves Consensus On Landfill Issue

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Superior City Council Approves Garbage Fee 7-3

By Doug Dalager

Bottom Row: Dan Olson, Tom Fennessey, Warren Bender, Jack Sweeney, Denise McDonald Top Row: Graham Garfield, Bob Finsland, Mike Herrick, Dennis Dalbec, Esther Dalbec | Explore Superior

Bottom Row: Dan Olson, Tom Fennessey, Warren Bender, Jack Sweeney, Denise McDonald
Top Row: Graham Garfield, Bob Finsland, Mike Herrick, Dennis Dalbec, Esther Dalbec

In a meeting that was markedly different than the tense face-off of one week ago, three city councilors changed their votes this week to bring finality to the landfill-garbage fee issue…at least for one year.

As reported by Explore Superior earlier today, Mayor Bruce Hagen brought to the table a new proposal that will charge all households and small businesses $7.75 per month beginning January 2016 through the end of 2018. He made a point of advising the Council that he was committed to seeking a compromise, and that he thought his new proposal answered many concerns that had been brought up last week.

This fee will cover one 96 gallon canister of the sort currently in use. Those who want a second can will be charged an additional $5 per month. For those residents who currently have two cans, but only want one, the city will make arrangements to pick-up your extra can when the time comes. The new ordinance also calls for an increase to $9.75 on January 1, 2019.

In order to pass his new ordinance, the Mayor worked with Councilor Graham Garfield, 6th District, to get his proposal through the council. Garfield had entered a proposed ordinance that would have charged $7.75 per month beginning January 1st, with increases to $8.75 on January 1, 2017, and $9.75 on January 1, 2018. His proposal also called for a reduced rate of $6.75 for those who ordered 32 gallon cans. He agreed to amend his proposed ordinance in order that the Mayor’s proposal could be passed.

With minimal debate, and many compliments passed back and forth between the Council and the City administration, the Mayor’s proposed ordinance sailed through with very little dissent. The only councilors who chose to vote against the ordinance were Esther Dalbec, 10th District, who did so due to promises she had made to her constituents, Warren Bender, 3rd District, who brought in a speaker, Paul Gardner, from a company called Waste Zero that offers “Pay as you Throw” garbage services, and Dan Olson, 1st District, who last week proposed a similar garbage fee of $7.75 for three years, minus the $5 extra can charge.

While the Mayor made a point of stating that he still believes that his original ordinance at $9.75 per month was fiscally sound, and provided a better reserve for the City in the event of the unexpected, he assured the Council that the new proposal would leave a reserve in place of $2,461,000 in 2023, which will be needed as the City begins to close down the Moccasin Mike Landfill. By then the City will also need to purchase some new garbage trucks, at approximately $250,000 each.

Also appearing at the meeting were representatives from Waste Management, who made a presentation proposing to take over city garbage services. While their presentation was professional and detailed, their services were not considered at this meeting.

Prior to the vote, Councilor Denise McDonald, 5th District , asked if the council could revisit this in coming years if the agreed upon fees proved to be too low or too high. She was informed by Mayor Hagen that future councils are not bound by past councils, so that if need be, the council could reopen the matter in a year or two. Councilor Jack Sweeney, 4th District, also recommended that the Councilor review this matter annually.

The City Council Voted as Follows:

Councilor Name District $7.75 mo. Garbage Ordinance, $5 extra can
Dan Olson 1st District No
Tom Fennessey 2nd District Yes
Warren Bender 3rd District No
Jack Sweeney 4th District Yes
Denise McDonald 5th District Yes
Graham Garfield 6th District Yes
Bob Finsland 7th District Yes
Mike Herrick 8th District Yes
Dennis Dalbec 9th District Yes
Esther Dalbec 10th District No

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