Ironton addresses garbage issue

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 25, 2004

Ironton residents will no longer have to guess when to put their garbage out.

Mayor John Elam and street/sanitation/floodwall superintendent Mike Pemberton outlined a new plan at Thursday's city council meeting that they hope will alleviate some of the garbage collection problems.

Garbage collection has been sporadic and unpredictable the past two months since three sanitation employees were laid off and one of the three trucks was taken out of daily service. Sanitation employees fell behind and were left scrambling to collect garbage in areas that were most behind.

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Although some areas of the city are still about four days behind, all residents can now place their garbage outside on the normal pickup day. The employees will resume running two of the three normal routes each morning. The third route will be picked up by both trucks at the end of each day.

The downtown area will be picked up daily but each route will be rotated weekly to become the odd route so that no one consistently suffers, Pemberton said.

Mayor Elam said he believes this approach will help address the problem.

"We are trying to put this on as much of a schedule as we can. It has become clear that the schedule we were trying was not working," Elam said. "Hopefully we will be able to find some type of solution. I think this idea by Mike (Pemberton) is a good one. We will see over the next couple of weeks how well it works."

Also, council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would ask voters at the Nov. 2 polls if they are willing to pay an additional half percent in income tax. By law, council cannot increase the tax above the 1 percent it is at currently.

Voters must approve the increase for it to take effect. Similar increases have been resoundingly voted down in the past but leaders hope the community understands the need more now.

Ordinance sponsor Richard Price said he wanted to get the issue on the agenda as soon as possible so it could go the full three readings and be discussed as much as necessary.

As another alternative to filling the city's $500,000 gap between revenues and expenses in the general fund, council heard the second reading of a $3-per-month municipal fee that is combined with a half percent reduction in the income tax reciprocity agreement.

If passed, those residents who work in other municipalities with at least a 1-percent income tax would also have to pay half of Ironton's municipal income tax, currently levied at 1 percent of an individual's total income. All residents would pay the additional $3 per month, per household fee.

The combined plan would generate a total of $460,000 in a full year.

Councilman Bill Nenni, a co-sponsor of the plan, asked Elam where he stood on the ordinance.

Expressing that he still preferred a $10 fee, Elam said he thinks that additional revenue would be needed to balance the budget, in part because the year is already half way over.

"I don't believe the $3 municipal fee would generate the money that is anticipated but I believe it is a start in the right direction," he said.