Heads Ups is a weekly column previewing city government meetings in Grand Forks.
I got enough calls last week to safely say it seems everyone has an opinion on the Grand Forks’ recycling program.
The city’s proposed six-year contract with Waste Management is up for approval at this week’s City Council meeting. At its core, the contract results in new, bigger recycling bins for city households and a slight increase in recycling charges.
The new 60- and 90-gallon recycling containers would dwarf the 18-gallon totes currently distributed by the city. A majority of the containers delivered to homes in November by Public Works will be 90-gallon bins.
With big bins comes increasing costs, including the purchase of two side-loading trucks to pick them up. To compensate, mandatory recycling charges for single-family homes will increase to $2.93 for those receiving the larger container and $2.73 per month for the smaller one. The 2013 recycling fee was $2.42 per month.
The good news is you don’t have to put the new 90-gallon recycling containers out if you don’t want to. The city doesn’t even have to drop them off at your house. Just give Public Works a call at (701) 738-8740 and they’ll put you on a list to not receive them when the bin fairy comes around in November.
The bad news is you’ll still be paying the monthly mandatory fee even if you choose not to recycle. That likely won’t change anytime soon, though some council members have voiced interest in pursuing a “pay as you throw” trash program instead of a flat monthly fee. We’ll see if their desires gain any steam in the coming years.
On another note, in last week’s Heads Up, I said that Waste Management downsized the amount of money the council wanted it to pay per year to market the program. It went from $30,000 a year to $15,000 over six years.
Turns out, the downsize was made as trade for providing alley pickup service in addition to the recycling program’s traditional curbside pickup. I know this was a request residents made repeatedly at the June council meetings, and I had at least one woman tell me last week she was thrilled with the news.
If you want to see the vote, you can visit the council in its chambers at 5:30 p.m. Monday in City Hall.