W’bago chooses cleanup option

WINNEBAGO – There will be no city-wide clean-up, decided the Winnebago City Council in a special meeting Tuesday. Instead, the council approved the purchase of three dumpsters, which will be made available to residents.

The council had debated whether it wanted to pay for the expense of a city-wide cleanup like years ago, or have Police Chief Bob Toland mail out letters to nearly 50 property owners, giving notice to clean up their yards.

“The rules have changed drastically from 14 years ago,” said Councilman Rick Johnson, alluding to what can be put in landfills.

“It’s a horrible idea to do a city-wide cleanup,” he said. “We will wind up with so many items that will be costly to get rid of.”

Johnson proposed buying three 3-yard dumpsters. Residents can sign up to use a dumpster for one week. It would be delivered to the residence, along with a list of items that can and cannot be dumped. The city would pay for one dump.

Residents could sign up for the dumpster again, but it would be at their expense, Johnson added.

The council asked Dale Foster of B&B Sanitation if any other cities were doing this, and he said Elmore was.

“I truly believe this is not a police department issue,” Toland said.

He said when police compile the list of nuisance properties, it’s protected by data privacy and he can’t show it to anyone. He did say his officers have tallied 30 nuisance properties on the west side of Highway 169 and 15 to 18 on the east side.

Councilwoman Jean Anderson said she had done some research on how other cities handle it.

“It’s never fallen on the police department,” she said, suggesting the police be called in if the person doesn’t comply.

Toland predicted there will be some properties that go that route; some are chronic offenders that never seem to get their yards cleaned up or let them go back to disorder in a short time. It takes money to get them cleaned up, he added.

“Some properties will be very, very costly,” he said. “We potentially have three.”

Those big dumpsters will be hard to ignore, Foster said. Everyone will know what they’re doing in people’s driveways, and neighbors will be asking when they can get it.

Johnson wanted the “City of Winnebago” on the side.

“With the phone number,” added Ziegler.

Foster said the dumpsters can be painted any color. The dumpsters can be there in a couple of weeks and cost around $700 for one.

“With Rick’s idea, we have an idea of what it will cost; with the other, we don’t,” said Councilman Scott Robertson.

The letters for the nuisance properties are a separate issue, Ziegler said. He and Toland will work with the property owners.

“If they aren’t amenable, we’ll take it to the next step,” he said.

The council voted to purchase three 3-yard dumpsters for about $2,000.

Foster promised if it didn’t work out, he’d buy the dumpsters.

“We use them constantly,” he said.

In other business, the council discussed a quote from More than Mowing to apply mosquito fogging.

“This is one of those years we’ll be doing everybody a big favor having it done,” Johnson said.

The council approved purchasing five applications for $2,874 and seeing how effective it is before ordering more.