OWOSSO CITY COUNCIL members continued discussion on updating the city refuse collection ordinance and establishing a public forum on the issue during the Monday, Nov. 4 meeting.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
The Owosso City Council is having a public forum to receive input from local refuse haulers to gather information to update the city’s refuse collection ordinance. The forum is set for 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12. Due to the anticipation of a large crowd, the forum will take place in the fire truck bay in the Owosso Public Safety building on Water Street. The format will allow for each council member to have five minutes to speak regarding the refuse ordinance. After, local refuse haulers in attendance will also have five minutes each to state their position. Residents or members of the public will be allowed three minutes each to state their thoughts.
The city has hired Carrie Rathbun Hawks to assist with the public relations aspect of the refuse collection ordinance forum next Tuesday evening.
The decision to hold the forum was approved during the city council meeting on Monday, Nov. 4.
During the city council meeting on Monday, Sept. 30, Henne had offered council members a presentation highlighting ways to improve the city’s refuse collection ordinance. Henne had done so under the guidance of council during a goal setting session in January. One of the goals discussed during the goal setting session – that was unanimously agreed upon by council – was to address city trash/blight problems and consider curbside recycling. Under council direction, Henne developed the supplemental presentation offered on Sept. 30 – a 5th-Monday meeting utilized by council to forward discussion on city goals. The refuse ordinance has not been updated in roughly twenty years.
The 5th-Monday council meeting presentation demonstrated the possibility of eliminating the multiple trash haulers currently operating twice weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays) in the city year round, with the city possibly contracting with a single trash hauler – a controversial topic for local trash haulers. Currently, residents can contract with any hauler they want, although they are not required to choose a hauler.
The city of Owosso passed a resolution on Monday, Oct. 21 to “not consider a single hauler ordinance option” until staff could organize the forum, according to information provided in the city packet for the Monday, Nov. 4 meeting. It is also available online at www.ci.owosso.mi.us. During the council meeting last Monday, councilmember Jerry Haber commented that the single-hauler issue is “off the table,” although city council member Janae Fear reiterated that it is actually “tabled,” which is supported in the meeting packet. The motion for the item to be tabled took place during the Oct. 7 meeting – a tabled motion represents a postponement under parliamentary procedure.
Other topics addressed during the council meeting included a public hearing forwarding the Brownfield plan for the Howard Street property. Owner Sue Ludington shared that the plan to renovate the property will include seven apartments and two commercial spaces and “enhance the southern corridor” of Owosso. The city also agreed to demolish the fire-damaged property at 424 Grover Street. The approval of a street rehabilitation project on Gould Street from Oliver Street to Moore Street will allow the city to participate in federal funding through the Small Urban Program project. The estimated cost of the project is $600,000. The Small Urban Program funding will cover $375,000 of that amount.
The next council meeting is planned for Monday, Nov. 18, though the public forum on refuse is set for next Tuesday.