By Carolyn Roy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Only about 10 people attended the City’s public hearing on potential changes to the new garbage contract Monday and those speaking urged the City Council to keep recycling. Mayor Lee Posey said the rate to keep backdoor collection of recycled goods would increase rates by about $5 when the contract renews in October. Both Posey and Councilman Eddie Harrington said that the City will continue to provide a recycling area at the property on Mill Street even if the council votes to do away with backdoor collection as a cost-saving measure.
Erica Durr was the first to speak in favor of recycling saying that she thought the City should undertake more education about what should go in the recycle carts. Sean Lovitt suggested the City find ways to improve the participation rate which is only about 3 percent of Waste Collection’s 6,942 customers.
Posey said that the City presented an extensive education program about four years ago and he didn’t believe doing it again would increase the number of those who recycle. Posey said many people, such as those on fixed incomes, would not be willing to accept the $5 increase to keep backdoor pickup.
Roberta Walters said the City would have to redo the new proposed slogan, “Where History Meets Progress” if it stopped recycling and she would be willing to pay the $5 increase to keep backdoor pickup. Walters said not to recycle would be abuse of the planet. Bart Bartles suggested that the City have people go “block to block” to educate residents about what to recycle. He asked that the council find a compromise between the costs and goals of recycling.
Carolyn Breedlove termed herself as a strong proponent of what she called a global issue. “It’s uncivilized to give it up,” Breedlove said. “Education can’t be a token effort. There must be a reason for the low participation. People are uninformed. I couldn’t urge you more strongly to keep it.”
Nick Wright suggested a holistic approach such as having public sorting centers manned my inmate labor.
Elvin Shields told the council, “We must say we recycle and say it very loud. We will be the little town that could.” Concerning those who said they could not afford the increase, Shields said to look in their trashcans and see how many cases of Bud Lite were there Sunday morning.
That statement was met with objections from Councilwoman Sylvia Morrow.
When someone said the low turnout at the meeting was because of the 4:30 p.m. time, Posey said the City’s announcement of the public hearing also included that discussion would continue after the City Council meeting if needed. When the council meeting adjourned, no one else wanted to speak. Posey said the proposed changes will be discussed at the next two City Council meetings.
During the regular meeting, the council took the following action:
•Awarded the bid to Ameriseal of Ohio, Smithville, Ohio to seal coat runway 7-25 at Natchitoches Regional Airport for $224,849
•Awarded bid for Street Rehabilitation Program Phase 2 to low bidder Regional Construction LLC for $3.4 million; other bid was from T.L. Construction LLC of Alexandria for $4.4 million
•Enter cooperative endeavor agreement with Rapides Area Planning Commission to develop bicycle-pedestrian master plan and Bikeshare feasibility study; RAPC has secured $100,000 from La. DOTD and City will provide $40,000 for study The council introduced an ordinance to buy two pieces of property on Mill Street for $290,000 from Carbecca LLC. The property is located to the west of Rapides Drive and Mill Street adjacent to the ADM property the City owns. Posey said the City could use it for office space in the future but will continue to rent it to the tenants; the buildings house Doug’s Depot and the former Todd Oil Co.
The council passed the following resolutions:
•Designated Friday, Aug. 31 as official holiday for City employees giving them a four-day Labor Day weekend
•Approved Alliance Compressors exemption of property taxes for 2017 property acquisitions
•Recover $22,733 through CDBG Disaster Recovery Program for flooding in 2016 Posey commended Community Development Director Randy LaCaze for the City receiving the La. Municipal Association Community Achievement Award for the Rue Beauport Project.