W’bago formalizes dumpster policy

WINNEBAGO – Winnebago City Council formalized the city’s dumpster policy Tuesday and discussed ways to finance it.

In June, the council approved the purchase of three 3-yard dumpsters that residents can borrow to clean up their yards and homes, with the city paying for disposal.

City Administrator Chris Ziegler said the program has been running for a few weeks now and is booked through early November.

“I have been noticing that several areas around town are getting cleaned up,” said Councilwoman Jean Anderson.

Ziegler believes a policy governing use of the dumpsters is necessary so there are no misunderstandings between the city and residents. He and City Clerk Megan Boeck designed an agreement for residents to sign before getting the dumpster.

Ziegler presented the policy and agreement, and asked the council members to approve it, which they did.

“The only thing we didn’t discuss was how to pay for it,” Ziegler noted.

Funds for the dumpsters came from the contingency fund, he said, and that will cover the dumpster fees for the rest of the year.

Ziegler said the council could choose to take money from the general fund or the enterprise fund. The problem with using the enterprise fund is that it is designed to take in only as much money as needed. If the city uses it to pay for dumpster fees next year, it will have to raise garbage rates. Another option is to put more in the contingency fund for next year.

Ziegler asked council members to consider which option they want to use so they can make a decision at a later date.

Turning to another topic, the council approved the Wellhead Protection Plan, which will identify wells and cap them. It also can make the city eligible for grants to cap wells.

Ziegler knows of six wells that are high risk and four that are a low-level risk, but acknowledged there might be more out there.

A public hearing for the plan is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 10.

On another matter, the council approved raising the Fire Department Relief Association retirement benefit level from $800 to $900. Councilman Jonathan Weerts abstained from voting and Councilman Rick Johnson was absent.

“Are we pretty much in line with neighboring areas?” asked Councilman Scott Robertson.

“We’re on the low end,” Ziegler said.

In another matter, Ziegler reported the Ministerial Association has asked to erect a sign listing area churches on the south end of town, near the city’s arrowhead sign. The city owns about an acre of land and there’s “plenty of room there,” Ziegler noted.

Robertson said the sign will be 4-by-8 feet and has been in the works for a year.

“Most all the churches in town have got on board,” he said.

“The Ministerial Association is behind it and paying the bill,” Robertson said. “I think it will be tastefully done.”

The council approved construction of the sign.

In other business, the council approved:

o A bid of $17,980 by Schwickerts of Mankato to repair the gutters, siding and roof of the municipal building;

o Hiring Sal Meyer and Nick Schwager as firefighters.