Bloomington Council Not Budging On Bulk Waste, Moves Forward With Lake Study | WGLT

Bloomington Council Not Budging On Bulk Waste, Moves Forward With Lake Study

Feb 8, 2016

A final decision on bulk waste pickup in Bloomington has not been reached. The City Council has been mulling over a fee change for over two years, and a new proposal to begin charging $20 for the first bucket of bulk waste and $40 for each additional bucket on the same day, apart from two free buckets per year, did not gain enough votes to pass. Two free buckets were not part of the recommendation brought to the council last month. The council approved a motion made by Alderman Scott Black to table the proposal to allow more time to consider other options.

Alderwoman Diana Hauman says she’s disappointed the proposal didn’t move forward. “We ask them to come to us with their best proposal, we continually reject the proposals that they make. And [it] must be frustrating for them. It’s frustrating for me as an alderman.”

Hauman says she favors the proposed changes and wants to give them a try. “After 17 months on the council, we’ve discussed this numerous times, and I think we should have given staff a chance to implement their recommendations. We can always revise or reform them.”

Before aldermen cast their votes to table the measure, City Manager David Hales asked the council to pass it instead. “Please work with us. I think the recommendation that was brought to you tonight deserves a chance. We can make it work. Please support us.”

Alderwoman Karen Schmidt says adding two free buckets a year to the original proposal makes it difficult to support. “It’s more confusing, and it costs us more. I think, had we stuck with the original proposal, I would have supported it. But we changed direction at the eleventh hour.”

Alderman David Sage says he will work with Alderman Scott Black and Alderwoman Joni Painter, along with city staff, to come up with more proposals. “We’ll bring something back that has some options, because, again, I think we’ve put staff in an almost impossible position here. This council has done that. And they’re left trying to cobble something together.”

On another matter, Bloomington is moving forward with finding a solution for out-of-date septic systems at Lake Bloomington. 

Director of Water Bob Yehl says there’s no concern that the lake could be contaminated by failing wastewater facilities at this point. “It’s a lake, it’s a reservoir. Animals use it. If there’s a couple septic systems that have issues, we treat it as it’s coming through the drinking water supply. It’s not an immediate concern today, tomorrow, [or] in the next six months. But, it will be in the coming years.”

An update to a study from 2003 will look at the most cost-effective method to get rid of wastewater for people who live along the lake, which is a source of water for the city. It’s unclear who will bear the cost of the resulting proposal, which could include a wastewater treatment facility. Yehl estimates the study will be completed in about six months.