UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio -- City Council’s Service and Utilities Committee decided during its meeting Monday (Oct. 18) to recommend to the administration that the city maintain its current method of backyard trash pickup.
The issue of whether the city should continue to pick up garbage from residents’ back yards has been under discussion for well over a year, as Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan has stated his belief that refuse collection should be switched to a less expensive curbside, automated method of collection.
Councilman Justin Gould, the committee’s chairman, stated in a news release that it was decided now to maintain backyard collection because “it is important for council to decide the issue before the city’s budgeting process begins next month.”
Gould noted that the decision was made after a solid waste study was conducted by GT Environmental and a presentation of that study was made to council; the committee held three public hearings; and a survey was prepared by Thomas Sutton, director of the Community Research Institute at Baldwin Wallace University, with input from Brennan, city Service Director Jeffrey Pokorny and members of council.
But, Gould said, although council authorized the money in June to have the survey sent to every household, it was not sent.
“Thomas Sutton is a doctor of political science and public policy,” Gould stated. “He is a Fulbright Scholar, he leads an organization that has helped cities, counties and schools survey citizens, he designed a survey for University Heights that Mayor Brennan refuses to send.
“I think that automated trash pickup will someday come to University Heights, but I will not cast that vote without hearing from our elders and those who will need help with automated bins, and weighing how their needs will effect the anticipated cost savings,” Gould said.
Brennan has previously stated that a residents survey should be taken, but that he wasn’t in agreement with the questions on the Sutton survey.
When asked for comment on the issue, Brennan, in an email to cleveland.com, wrote: “When City Council said they wanted a survey, administration brought them a quote by a professional who performs solid waste surveys. Council rejected the quote, then brought in a political pollster who never did a solid waste survey before.
“Together, they took out the questions about finance and cost,” Brennan stated. “The money questions are important, because University Heights spends the third most per house, per month in the county for solid waste pickup, while getting the third worst recycling results among suburban Cuyahoga cities.
“Council’s solid waste survey was then truly a garbage survey, pun intended: garbage in, garbage out,” Brennan said.
“I wasn’t going to waste taxpayer dollars putting out council’s incomplete, political garbage survey.
“After council refused to restore the money questions, council’s Service and Utilities Committee went ahead and voted to keep backyard pickup, which is presumably what they planned to do all along,” he said.
“Instead of restoring important survey questions so the public could be heard, City Council has concluded its political exercise and reached its predetermined outcome to do nothing. This is why City Council elections are important.”
The current backyard collection system costs University Heights $23.74 per home. Using the automated system, Brennan has stated, would cost about $15 per home.
Speaking the day following the committee meeting, Gould said that some older and infirm residents live at homes with sloped driveways that, especially in ice and snow, pose a danger should those residents have to pull large garbage bins to the curb. He believes it is essential to get survey results before making a decision.
Brennan has stated that a method could be worked out, perhaps using service department employees who now do so at all yards to assist specific elderly homeowners with bringing containers to the curb.
Gould said the city has paid its bill to Sutton for his work. Council recently sparred with Brennan over payment to Sutton that council believed was late.
The committee’s recommendation moves to a full council vote at its next meeting, Nov. 1.
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Source : https://www.cleveland.com/community/2021/10/university-heights-council-committee-recommends-maintaining-residential-backyard-garbage-collection.html886