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New contract keeps garbage rates steady two more years

The city of Hudson has renewed a contract with Advanced Disposal that will hold garbage collection rates steady for two more years and provide 20 new garbage containers for the downtown.

The new five-year agreement, beginning in 2015 and running through the end of 2019, was approved by the City Council at its June 16 meeting.

“I think it looks like a pretty good contract,” Alderperson Rich Vanselow said after reviewing it in the Finance Committee meeting that preceded the council meeting.

Alderperson Mary Yacoub said that with the new deal Hudson residents will go a total of seven years without an increase in collection rates. Rates haven’t increased since the current contract went into effect at the beginning of 2010.

Yacoub is chairperson of the Public Works Committee, which negotiated the agreement.

Residents currently pay $8.20 a month for a 35-gallon garbage container, plus $3 for the collection of recyclables, for a total of $11.20.

The charge for a 65-gallon container is $9.30, boosting the monthly total to $12.30 with recycling.

The charge for a 95-gallon container is $10.75, or $13.75 a month with recycling.

The fees will increase 5 percent at the beginning of 2017, another 5 percent at the start of 2018, and 4.91 percent at the beginning of 2019.

Council Randy President Randy Morrissette II observed that it would be “quite an increase” in rates over those years.

City Administrator Devin Willi replied that a 15-percent increase over 10 years is a pretty good deal. It’s an average annual increase of 1.5 percent for the period.

The deal sweetener was Advanced Disposal’s offer of 20 decorative, heavy-duty garbage containers for the downtown.

Jennefer Klennert, municipal marketing manager for the company’s St. Paul office, said the value of the containers is $11,500.

They will replace smaller, less-attractive containers that the city was planning to replace at its own expense.

“The new garbage cans will look very nice,” said Yacoub, reporting that they will be sandstone in color for garbage and blue for recyclables.

“It kind of puts a nice flair on our downtown,” Yacoub said.

Advanced Disposal trucks will be able to empty the containers with the automatic arms used to empty household garbage containers.

Willi said extra pickups can be ordered for periods of heavy use.

In making the case for the city’s business, Klennert wrote that service for customers will continue uninterrupted.

“We have had the same driver in Hudson for over 10 years. He takes pride and ownership in the service he provides,” Klennert listed as one of advantages of continuing business with her company.

In a later phone call, Klennert identified the driver as Jeff Bader, a Wisconsin resident.

“Honestly, he’s one of the reasons we’re able to control our costs, too. He does a fabulous job,” she said. “He’s very efficient and he’s safe. …The residents that interact with him just love him. And kids love garbage men.”

Other action

In other business on June 16, the council:

--Approved final development plans for the Presbyterian Homes and Housing Services senior living complex to be built east of Hudson Hospital & Clinic. The complex will have 65 assisted living units, 95 senior apartments (132 beds) and a dialysis center. Construction will begin this summer.

--Postponed a discussion on lowering the amount of liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage that organizations must purchase to hold large events on city property. The current minimum is $3 million for bodily injury and property damage, plus $3 million of umbrella coverage. The City Council often reduces the required coverage for groups, however, which raised the question of whether the minimum is too high.

--Agreed to review proposals from five engineering firms seeking the city’s business at the July 7 meeting. The city requested proposals for engineering services after Foth Infrastructure and Environment, which has provided the service for the past few years, announced that it was terminating its contract with the city. Foth said it would no longer be doing municipal engineering from its Lake Elmo, Minn., office.

--Renewed a lease agreement allowing San Pedro Café to keep garbage dumpsters on city property next to the Public Safe Building on Walnut Street. The restaurant doesn’t have room for the dumpsters on its own property. It pays $25 a month to store the dumpsters on city property.

--Decided that a lawyer from the Stafford Rosenbaum law firm representing the city’s interests in one case, and another lawyer from the firm representing St. Croix Marina in its effort to receive a variance from the city in another case, didn’t constitute a conflict of interest.

--Approved a Ride the Loop bicycle event sponsored by River Valley Trails that will be held July 13, beginning at 10 a.m. at Lakefront Park. The ride also ends at the park.

--Approved the use of Lakefront Park on Aug. 15-16 as an exchange point for the annual Great River Ragnar Relay footrace from Winona, Minn., to Minneapolis.

--Approved temporary licenses for the Visual Arts Council at The Phipps Center for the Arts to serve beer and wine at an Aug. 22 event. The “Create 4 the Date, Stay Out Late, Celebrate” event will run from 8 to 11:30 p.m.

--Approved the Brian Lautenback Celebrate Life Fun Run beginning and ending at Weitkamp Park on Sept. 27.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066