'Worst Decision Is Prolonged Indecision' On Bulky Waste | WGLT

'Worst Decision Is Prolonged Indecision' On Bulky Waste

Mar 1, 2016

Bloomington Assistant City Manager Steve Rasmussen behind the wheel of a city truck.
Credit City of Bloomington

The City of Bloomington is no closer to resolving the bulky waste issue, after a proposal was tabled February 8.

Three Bloomington aldermen are examining the city's bulky waste service, but a proposal isn't expected soon. Bloomington's Assistant City Manager told GLT's Mike McCurdy during Sound Ideas that the ad hoc committee is asking questions, but he doesn't know if they're moving toward a solution.

"Maybe they can come up with a solution that will get five votes," said Assistant Manager Steve Rasmussen.

The three member committee comprised of Aldermen David Sage, Joni Painter, and Scott Black,  was formed Feb. 8 after a proposal was tabled that would have provided two free front-end loader buckets, with subsequent charges. The city would have charged $20 and $40 dollars per bucket following the free front end loader pick ups of items such as furniture and appliances.

Rasmussen echoed the comments of City Manager David Hales who pleaded with the council during the Feb. 8 meeting. "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," said Hales.

"David Hales is exactly right and I support that position 100%," Rasmussen said. "We would just like to have some sort of decision one way or the other so we can move forward. This was a perfectly good thing to try."

Aldermen expressed concern about administering the two free buckets.  Rasmussen said if  "we wanted to do two free buckets, we could certainly find ways to do that." The city currently provides the first bucket for free with a subsequent buckets costing $25.  "So I do not think it would be impossible for us to do it," said Rasmussen.

The city makes approximately $5.5 million dollars per year in cart fees. Trash and recycling pick up costs around $4.5 million, leaving the city "money ahead," according to Rasmussen. However bulky waste and brush pick up costs the city about $3.5 million, leaving a $2.5 million dollar deficit in a fund that is supposed to pay for itself.

Alderman Scott Black said he doesn't expect any proposals from the ad hoc committee in the "short term." He says he and the other two aldermen are planning to meet with staff soon.

"My suggestion is that we just try some of these things because if we try them and it doesn't work it's not forever. We can always say 'well, that didn't work' and we can turnaround and try something else, " said Rasmussen. "The worst decision is prolonged indecision."