At the June 13 meeting of the Chatfield City Council, the city’s garbage and recycling system was again discussed extensively. Details of possible draft changes to the contract with William Hanson Waste Removal were debated.
Councilor Paul Novotny, who admitted he personally prefers the current bag system, suggested a change to a cart system is an inevitable step. The cart system will require less manual labor. If Hanson, who was present at the meeting, buys a truck with an automated arm, the pick-up of garbage and recyclables will require only one worker, instead of two.
Novotny said the minimal increased cost for many residents for the cart system is not the issue for those residents, but an increased cost is an issue for those who produce little garbage. Residents average 4.3 bags per month. Novotny said the cart system will cost the average resident about $90 more per year. He asked is there a way to accommodate low volume users; the current system is the most equitable but will not work at some point in time.
Councilor Josh Broadwater insisted they need to give Hanson an answer as to whether or not to make the switch to carts.
City Clerk Joel Young added, “You need to decide if you want to continue down this path, to carts. No decision will be binding until the new agreement is ratified and the ordinance is amended. Young said the public is interested in this; we need everyone to take this on. Also, will the automated truck-cart system be able to be used in alleyways? Power lines could be an issue in alleys for the automated truck.”
Councilors will try to come to a consensus on each of the details, item by item for a possible cart system, at a June 28 Committee of the Whole meeting. Hanson noted even if the council does agree to change the system, it will not change at least until late fall.
Other business in brief
• Fire Chief Luke Thieke requested approval to buy a leaf blower from Hammell Equipment, Inc. at a cost of $649.95 and a used natural gas hot water electric 3000 psi pressure washer at a total estimated cost (washer and equipment) of $3,809.00. The leaf blower is used on grass and wildland fires. The pressure washer and associated equipment is to be used in the fire hall. Both purchases were approved as presented.
• Chris Giesen, EDA, said due to an administrative error in the public notice, the process for approval of TIF 3-5 for the purpose of developing an athletic club will need to start over. TIF 3-5 was approved on April 25. The public notice failed to clearly show the boundaries of the TIF district.
The council called for another public hearing on July 11, at which time the council can readopt the resolution, fixing the administrative error.
The value of this TIF assistance will be up to $140,000 plus interest, paid over nine years. The project is expected to create about $750,000 in new tax base, new jobs, and to provide additional health and fitness opportunities.
• Giesen noted May was National Preservation Month for 2022. A preservation poster was presented. It shows the Chatfield Monument (historical marker) which was built in 1955 by the state highway department to serve as a roadside rest along Highway 52 for tourists.
• Young reported on the annual population estimate from the Minnesota State Demographer, Susan Brower, as of April 1, 2021. Chatfield’s total population as of that date was 3,010. (Fillmore 1,851 and Olmsted 1,159)
• Mayor Russ Smith read the National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day Proclamation for October 15, 2022. Infants Remembered in Silence, Inc. a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization was founded 35 years ago.
• Pay application #6 for Center for the Arts construction project and pay application #5 for CCA construction management were approved. The payout to date to contractors for the CCA project is nearly $4.4 million.
• A resolution was approved accepting a donation of $50 from the Chatfield Youth Basketball Association.
• A closed session was held to discuss a potential acquisition of real property. Smith announced after the closed session that no decision was made; city staff will do more information gathering.