by Dennis Dalman
Sartell will continue to allow a maximum of four garbage-hauling companies to operate in the city.
At its last council meeting, May 26, council members pondered several options for the city’s garbage-hauling ordinance. The options were based on what other cities do and from input from garbage haulers. Among the options, the council discussed the following:
- Limiting garbage collection to just certain days of the week.
- Limiting the number of garbage companies that can operate in the city to just one or two.
- Requiring residents to place their garbage across the alleys or streets so garbage trucks would just make one pass-through per street.
- Transferring the city license to operate automatically to another hauler if the one with the license sells its business or is subsumed by another business.
One by one, council members more or less rejected all of those options (except the latter) as not needed or verging on the ridiculous (i.e. the one about residents putting garbage across the street).
Council member David Peterson said he is definitely not in favor of the automatic transferring of a license to another company.
Council member Pat Lynch said the council seems to be in search of a “solution for problems that don’t exist.” He said he has heard nothing from residents about garbage-hauler problems, and when they do bring up the subject, what they care most about is wanting the option of choosing their own haulers. There are benefits to competition, Lynch said. He also said limiting the number is not necessary because it’s very unlikely a lot of new haulers would even apply to the city. The idea of garbage trucks putting extra wear-and-tear on city streets, Lynch said, has just not been proven.
For the past year or so, the Sartell City Council has considered perhaps limiting the number of garbage haulers to less than four, perhaps even only one, as the City of Sauk Rapids does. That idea had been discussed also by previous city councils in Sartell.
At one time, there were six garbage haulers operating in the city. Since 2008, there have been only four, which is the maximum now allowed in the city ordinance.
After a long discussion at the May 26 meeting, Mayor Sarah Jane Nicoll summarized council members’ opinions on the subject. The consensus, she said, is to leave the ordinance just at it is for now. No vote needed to be taken. All city staff needed was a consensus from the council.