Green Park aldermen again were faced with the question of whether to offer free trash service to residents — and once again, an answer was postponed.
A motion by Ward 1 Alderman Judy Betlach to offer free residential trash service died for lack of a second at the Board of Aldermen’s Sept. 18 meeting.
Mayor Steve Armstrong told the Call last week that providing free trash service is a question that will be best answered in the future — specifically after city leaders know the costs of refurbishing Green Park Road and replacing that road’s bridge over Gravois Creek.
“Green Park Road is an extremely big project,” Armstrong said. “And we have the bridge coming up. So they (aldermen) wanted to make sure that there’s sufficient funds to pay for those things. Again, they’re trying to make overall financially sound decisions for the residents that they represent. So they’re trying their best to do that.”
As for the issue of whether the city would ever fund trash service, Armstrong said while that is not an immediate goal, he believes aldermen as a whole would rather wait a year to discuss that service.
“I don’t have a personal goal,” Armstrong said. “Again, I think it (free trash service) needs to be looked at. It’s just been brought up in recent months. So to speak on it or give an opinion on it now, I think would be premature. We have to look at everything as the city does stuff. I mean, we want to make things better for the residents within Green Park.”
The Board of Aldermen voted 4-1 last month to include a renegotiation clause in its upcoming three-year contract with a residential-waste hauler. The clause would allow the city to negotiate paying for residential trash pickup service. Aldermen have indicated they would prefer to wait until after a year of service with the new trash hauler to decide whether to pay for residential trash service.
Board President Fred Baras of Ward 3 was the lone “no” vote against the renegotiation clause, and Ward 2 Alderman Jackie Wilson abstained from voting.
The city has prepared a request for proposals, or RFP, to attract bids from various waste-collection companies. The RFP has been distributed, and companies have until Friday to submit bids to the city.
The Board of Aldermen is tentatively scheduled to award a bid at its next meeting Monday, Oct. 16, and the three-year contract with a trash-collection company is set to begin Feb. 1. Based on an estimated $15 monthly fee to 985 Green Park homes for once-a-week trash collection, residents would pay a combined $14,775 per month and $177,300 per year for trash pickup.
The question of whether aldermen would like the city to fund that annually estimated $177,300 tab for trash service to residents is something that Armstrong said will need to be studied — but in the future.
“It’s something that needs to be looked at and studied,” Armstrong said. “Everything takes time looking at this stuff. And that’s what the board is trying to do. They’re trying to look at all the big picture and evaluate all these things and see what it is. I think one of the first steps, obviously, is to see what kind of prices we get back. And decide what kind of prices we’d get from having one trash collector. Hopefully, it would be cheaper for everybody — me included.
“The board has discussed it and it’s in the beginning stages of assessing that. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Betlach told the Call that she made the motion to offer free once-a-week trash pickup not so much to have it approved, but to continue the discussion and see if aldermen had changed their minds on the issue.
“There had been several discussions, and I wanted to make sure there had not been a change in the direction of the board,” Betlach said. “It’s better to ask tough questions not necessarily to get the motion passed, but to make sure that they had the chance to be heard on it.”