Recycling, refuse issues top Weston agenda

Availability of recycling service may be a casualty of the City of Weston’s efforts to balance its budget. At the Board of Aldermen meeting Monday evening, with Alderman Kent Stelljes presiding due to the absence of Mayor C.R. Carter, the Board faced the challenge of a deficit in the City’s trash fund. City Clerk Kim Kirby reported while everything else in the City budget was in order for 2014, the trash fund was nearly $3,000 in the red. Stelljes outlined the City’s basic options, which were to increase trash collection fees, cut recycling center hours or to simply wait and see how the revenues really come in over the next few months and revisit the problem later. Alderman Joyce Burch said she recommended cutting recycling center hours, as she wasn’t in favor of a fee increase at this time. Stelljes noted that as Red Gate Disposal — whose contract to provide trash service was approved later in the meeting — had provided the City with a lower bid, rates would actually decrease in 2014. Due to this, a small fee increase could level out the rates or be less than the 2013 fees. “I think we’ve done a good job with holding things steady — water rates, sewer, trash fees — but we can’t just do it all for free,” said Alderman Patrick Farnan. “We have to raise some of these rates sometime — we just have to.” The Board determined it would cut hours at the recycling center from almost daily to Wednesday evenings and Saturdays. First, however, Kirby was tasked with speaking with the part-time employee who handles the recycling center for the City, as the City has no desire to search for a new employee to replace him should he wish to end his employment due to reduced hours. The Board will revisit the matter in February, if the employee wants to come to another arrangement. With its trash contract with Deffenbaugh set to expire early this year, in 2013 the City sent the contract out to bid and received interest from both Deffenbaugh and Red Gate Disposal in Edgerton. Red Gate was the low bidder, and the City awarded its contract at the meeting. Service is set to begin in March. Terry Peterson, owner of Red Gate Disposal, was present at the meeting and thanked the Board for its patronage. Farnan presented the plan to establish a possible truck route through the City to address the problem of truck traffic. After much consultation with the Weston police, public works, planning and zoning and business owners, Farnan said he believed they had arrived at a plan that would cause minimal changes to existing traffic patterns and would hopefully reduce the problem of lost trucks. Under the plan, most trucks would enter the City through Washington Street, with the speed limit reduced to 15 miles per hour for trucks. The only trucks to enter the City through Highway JJ would be those delivering to McCormick Distillery and Pirtle Winery.