The Augusta City Council decided to move forward with the new sanitation process Monday night. But rather than committing to purchasing a new vehicle, the council decided to rent a similar truck and carts in order to make sure the plan will work in Augusta.
“We need an out in case it doesn’t work,” said Councilor Mike Wallace.
Josh Shaw, Assistant to the City Manager, told the council that choosing the pilot program option would have to happen quickly.
“For the pilot program to work, we will have to treat that area like a full scale program,” Shaw said. “We would need to rent the truck and carts and run it in an area. If this is just a way to survey, we would need to do that differently.”
Mayor Kristey Williams said she was not in favor of any option that would mean the plan was not implemented.
“If we go backward, we haven’t done what we said we would do,” Mayor Williams said. “We have discussed this for two years with a committee and input from the public.”
The council voted unanimously to enter in to a pilot program that would include renting a truck – at a cost of between $1,000 and $1,500 per week – and the carts so that an area of the city could be tested.
Communication with residents about the plan was also a major concern for the council.
“I think we are going to have to send a letter with utility bills,” said Councilor Sue Jones. “There are some people in this town who don’t watch channel seven, read the Gazette or have access to the internet.”
City Manager Bill Keefer agreed.
“This is a big change for our community,” Keefer said. “We have to get the word out through letters, town hall meetings and other ways before we move the entire town to the new system in 2014.”
Other concerns came from Councilor Mike Rawlings who expressed concerns about streets like Summit St. near Dearborn where there seems to be a constant line of cars parked along an already narrow street.
“We know there will be some areas that will be difficult to serve,” Shaw said. “This is something we will address as we go forward.”
Another issue the city is having to address is a vendor who will accept the city’s recycling as a single stream in bags.
Shaw also presented the council with a transition plan that gave the governing body a timeline for what steps will be taken along the way.
Page 2 of 2 - That timeline included increasing refuse rates, determining the durability of trash carts following up with recycling questions, posting information to the city’s website, and finalizing the spring clean-up coupon program which will take the place of the annual spring clean-up in Augusta.