City to hold public hearing on trash collection contracts

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[July 21, 2017]  LINCOLN -  On Tuesday evening, the Lincoln City Council adjourned for what was originally scheduled as a double meeting. The plan had been to hold a special voting session then move into the regular Committee of the Whole to set the voting agenda for next week.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Seth Goodman explained that there would be no Committee of the Whole meeting. He said that city department heads and others had been on the job for most of the previous night (due to storms that left damages throughout the city) and had very little rest. He didnít want to force them to sit through a long meeting on this night.

He said that in spite of this, the aldermen would move forward with a discussion about holding a public hearing on the trash collection contracts at the end of the voting session.

Trash collection contracts

The city of Lincoln is researching whether or not to enter into a mandatory trash and recycling contract for all residents of the city.

At the last meeting of the city council the bids had been received from three waste haulers, with two being very competitive while the third appeared to be overpriced for what the city was asking.

Inside each of the two contenders there were options for trash collection as well as recycling collection. The bids included holding city-wide trash cleanup days when larger items not normally allowed in the weekly trash collection could be discarded.

At the prior meeting, Welch suggested that the city council hold a public hearing to allow constituents the opportunity to express their concerns and ask questions to the full council. It was also suggested that in the meantime, constituents could contact their aldermen and talk with them one-on-one.

This week, Welch said he wanted to move forward with the plan for a public hearing. He added that he felt there would be a large turnout for such a hearing, so if the city were to hold it, perhaps they should do so in a larger venue.

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The group spent several minutes discussing schedules and working to find a time when as many aldermen as possible could be present. The final decision was to hold the public hearing on Monday, July 31st at 6 p.m. The location will be determined and announced prior to that date.

Because July is a five Monday month, there was no voting session scheduled for the 31st, and there will be no votes taken at the public hearing. Welch had specified that he thought it would be best to have the hearing on a date not connected with voting, so that aldermen had at least a few days to consider what they had heard from their constituents.

The council had originally placed the vote for a waste hauling contract on the Monday, July 17th voting meeting. That vote will now be tabled.

The options before the council are to accept a waste hauler bid and establish a contract that would be mandatory for Lincoln residents, and subsequently not renew the annual contract with the Logan County Joint Solid Waste Agency.

Or, the council may choose to continue the agreement with the LCJSWA and vote down the motion to approve a contract with a waste hauler.

When the decision was made to hold the hearing, and before moving on to the next topic, Michelle Bauer said she would remind the public that between now and the hearing, those who wish to contact their ward alderman for one-on-one conversations about the contracts are encouraged to do so.

LDN will announce the location of the hearing as soon as that information is made available.

[Nila Smith]

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