Blue Earth picks recycling hauler

BLUE EARTH – Blue Earth City Council has approved a three-year contract with Waste Management for recycling services.

Hometown Sanitary Service presented a proposal to the city in June, and the city currently utilizes Waste Management, said Todd Bodem, interm city administrator. To be fair, the city decided to obtain a quote from Waste Management.

Hometown’s proposal was a base rate of $3.42 per month while Waste Management’s is $3.30 per month.

Mayor Rick Scholtes pointed out that Waste Management takes items Hometown does not, and Waste Management’s proposal is single sort.

“People don’t realize what they can put in there,” said Scholtes, adding he was surprised when he read the list.

The new contract will be an increase from the current rate of $2.36, but the new deal includes an upgrade in containers.

“So we’d get away from the bags?” asked Councilman John Gartzke.

Scholtes nodded.

B&B Sanitation also handles a portion of town’s recycling.

Turning to old business, Gartzke said the city should open up the liquor store manager position to the public, instead of it just being an internal posting.

He and Councilman John Huisman said positions in other departments were opened to the public.

“[We have] got to stay consistent with these things,” Gartzke said.

The council voted to extend the application process for two weeks and open it to the public.

In other action, the council heard from Police Chief Tom Fletcher about his department’s proposed budgets for next year.

Fletcher said there will be some changes in his budget structure, including the end of a lease on a Crown Victoria, enabling him to move those funds. He said the DARE program also will end, and that money will be moved to other items.

Fletcher alerted the council that his department will buy a vehicle in 2015 and another in 2016, for a total around $85,000.

In other budget news, Ron Roetzel of Bolton & Menk updated the council on financing options for the airport taxi lane, saying the state Department of Transportation has some funding, but it is only available between 2015-16.

“It’s a fairly significant cost reduction to the city,” Roetzel noted.

A plan can be put together and construction could be done next summer, he said.

“I think it’s worth looking at,” Scholtes said.

In other business, the council:

o Accepted, with regrets, Virgil Engel’s retirement from the Public Works Department, effective Sept. 19. Engel worked for the city 34 years.

o Approved an assessment deferral for Michelle and Nick Bleess for property on 12th Street since the lot has nothing on it but a garage, which is not hooked up to sanitary sewer or water.

The deferment is $1,525 for sanitary sewer and $2,140 for water, for a total of $3,665.