Cresco Council to allow outside firms for commercial garbage

CRESCO - At the Sept. 7 meeting, Cresco Council members voted 4-1 (Jan Carman, Alex Fortune, Gary Kriener and Rich McConnell for and Amy Bouska against) to allow other sanitation companies into the town of Cresco for commercial pickups. Commercial businesses use dumpsters for their refuse. 
The company had recently raised dumpster rates, some of which surprised customers at the jump in cost. They called City Hall inquiring if they could hire a different waste management firm.
The City’s attorney looked at the contracts and advised council members the residential contract looks to be exclusive to Hawkeye, but commercial was a gray area.
Hawkeye Sanitation will still be the only company allowed to pick up residential waste. 
 Lucas, Julian and Ross Merritt attended the meeting and spoke before the vote. They stated they felt the commercial contract was also  exclusive to them.
Lucas said they had talked to most of their commercial customers, who were upset, and they “expressed they understood, and some went down in frequency and size.”
Kriener commented, “At this point, if you have talked to them, and they understand, there is really no concern for losing business, is there?”
Julien added that costs are within $10 higher or lower than competitors. 
Ross noted that commercial businesses received some services for free, such as recycling, which Hawkeye Sanitation has to finance. 
Bouska, who was attending via Zoom, asked how many council members other than herself went to Hawkeye and talked to them personally. “I thought they had some interesting and pertinent things to say.” Carman, Kriener and McConnell indicated they had talked to the owners of Hawkeye Sanitation.
Kriener asked, “So if I understand this, if the vote doesn’t go in your favor, the whole recycling program can be in jeopardy?”
Lucas answered, “We have to service curbside, because it is under contract. However, the commercial businesses who bring in material for free, that we allow them to, that part of it, we are not sure we are going to be able to supplement all of those companies.”
After the vote, Ross said, “My only concern is, today I walked into the bank and signed for $650,000 for this community. If I am seeing it bleed away, I gotta make sure I can pay for that to keep my people going.”
The entire exchange can be found on homepage under Cresco City Council meetings on You Tube.
In other business, City Clerk Michelle Elton stated she felt the City owed money to Hawkeye Sanitation for collecting late fee penalties.
“When we do utility billing, any bills not paid on the 12th get a 10% penalty on the 13th,” she explained. Since the City is paid to bill for Hawkeye, it also collected late fees for garbage and recycling. 
She added, “When we have been having all of these garbage discussions, I got to thinking about it . . .  [and gave you a printout of] how much we have collected each year and thought maybe we owed them a few years of penalties for late payments.”
Elton continued, “I apologize. I’ve never really even thought about it before. It automatically gets posted.” 
Council voted to reimburse Hawkeye for 10 years of charges, for a total of $63,677.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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