Marietta officials discuss yard waste, trash concract

MARIETTA – The option to have yard waste picked up separately from other trash is an alternative Marietta residents may have in the city’s next waste hauling contract.

“Yard waste would be picked up, but the cost to the resident would be $2 a month, and stickers would have to be purchased for those bags to be handled separately,” said Marietta Councilman Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward, and chairman of council’s special utilities committee.

He said another option will be to have one bulk item picked up per quarter. Bulk items may include furniture, appliances and water heaters.

The options are among alternatives that trash hauling contractors will be asked to include in their bids as the city advertises for a new waste handling contract. The contract with Rumpke Inc. expires this spring.

Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, had hoped all residents could have yard waste picked up separately and hauled to a local mulch or composting site.

“I just want to keep grass and leaves out of the waste stream,” he said, noting that residents can include yard waste with other trash that is picked up and hauled to a landfill.

“We need to be more environmentally in tune and stop throwing that yard waste away in some landfill,” Kalter said following Wednesday’s meeting of the special utilities committee.

Residents have the option of taking their grass clippings, leaves, twigs and other yard debris to Greenleaf Landscaping on Muskingum Drive where those materials are turned into mulch.

But Kalter noted it’s easier for many people, including elderly citizens, to just put their yard waste out with the trash for weekly pickup.

“I wanted to get a conversation going that would help keep yard waste in the local area instead of throwing it away with other trash,” he said.

McCauley asked city law director Paul Bertram III to prepare legislation authorizing the administration to advertise for bids by Feb. 1. The documents are expected to be ready for a special council session that has been tentatively scheduled for Jan. 31.

On Wednesday, Marietta resident Dave Haney asked for better traffic enforcement along Fourth Street near St. Mary’s School and Marietta Memorial Hospital.

He said there has been increased traffic from the hospital and drivers are traveling at speeds much higher than the 25 mph limit in that area.

“They speed off the hill and through the school zone,” Haney said. “It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed.”

He suggested the city install traffic cameras in that area to catch speeders and noted citing those violations could increase revenue for the city.

“But we’re mostly concerned for the safety of our children and grandchildren in that area,” Haney said.

He also requested improvements to the alley that runs behind Front Street business properties Haney owns in downtown Marietta.

Haney said he and Shafer’s Leather owner Rob Shafer had spent $4,000 for parking lot pavement work that was needed to level out the entrances to their lots from the alley. He said the work was required because the city has not properly maintained the brick alley that runs between Butler and Greene streets

Marietta safety-service director Jonathan Hupp told Haney that Mayor Joe Matthews wants to start putting money aside for an alley paving program next year.

“We can’t completely rebuild these alleys, but we can repair them in 20- or 30-foot sections,” Hupp said.

Haney said the alley behind his properties would require a complete rebuild, including drainage improvements and the latest engineering estimate for that alley was $211,000.

Councilman Michael Mullen, I-at large, said the city’s shrinking revenues can’t afford such a large alley project.

Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, agreed.

“What we will continue to do is patch and repair alleys – that’s what we can afford to do,” he said. “We don’t know where to get the money to fix the city’s alleys.”

Haney said he would be willing to help pay for the alley project through a property assessment process if other property owners in the neighborhood would agree.

Properties adjacent to the alley would be assessed a certain amount, based on frontage, to help pay for the project. The city would also pay a portion of the expense.

A large majority of the property owners would have to agree to the assessment before it could be considered by council.