After Monday night’s meeting, there will no longer be an annual city-wide cleanup program in Augusta.
Instead of having residents bring their waste to the dump over a three-week period in April, the Augusta City Council opted for a plan that allows residents to dump similar waste – including tires and appliances – using a coupon system at the county landfill. Residents won’t be limited to a three-week window. These coupons could be used anytime during the year.
The city formerly picked up the spring cleanup waste at homes. But the amount that had to be collected created a bad situation that caused delays in getting to some residences. The cleanup plan used through last year allowed residents to bring their large waste items to the city dump. But even that program was ripe for abuse and misuse.
“I have a hard time believing that we got 1,176 tires from Augusta residents,” Councilor Ron Reavis said. “We can drive north a few miles as easily as we can drive south. This coupon plan is simple and we get out of the cleanup business.”
With that comment, Reavis made a motion to use the program that was outlined in the city’s Sanitation Transition Program that the governing body approved on July 2 of last year.
Councilor Matt Malone said he was still waiting on the town hall meetings that the council had discussed to make residents more aware of what the new sanitation program will include. He said he was concerned about how residents will feel about all of these changes in the system being made at once.
Soon, the city will determine the best way to send a letter to all sanitation customers to alert them of the changes and help them understand how the new system works.
“I would really like a survey of the residents on this issue,” Councilor Mike Huddleston said. “I want residents to feel like they are a part of it. This is the first we have seen of this plan.”
Josh Shaw, Assistant to the City Manager, reminded the governing body that the coupon plan was part of the Sanitation Transition Plan approved on July 2.
“We can move forward with any changes you would like, but the council asked staff to move forward with the changes included in the plan so that is where this came from,” Shaw said.
City Manager Bill Keefer said he was concerned that trying to get a survey done in time to still hit the April cleanup time would be difficult.
The council then voted 6-2 to approve Reavis’ motion to go with the coupon system and no annual cleanup. Malone and Mike Martin voted against the change.
Page 2 of 2 - After that vote, the council voted 8-0 to approve the sanitation plan as it is with the idea that amendments are still possible at future meetings.