BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Motorists on the east end of Fort Madison probably saw the beginning of the city’s new trash cart program underway Monday
More than 4,000 of the new carts were unloaded on the parking lot west of the Riverview Park pavilion Monday morning. Semi-trailors rolled in and out of the park most of the morning unloading the new 65- and 95-gallon wheeled trash carts.
Then workers contracted by Rehrig Pacific, the manufacturer of the new carts, began unloading the carts early Monday following the city’s regular trash pickup routes. The carts were delivered at addresses curbside with a plastic bag containing a card that had information on the new carts and the city’s recycling plan.
Laura Legois, a consultant with Municipal Connections which oversaw the rollout, said delivery will go along with the city’s regular trash routes. However delivery will continue on Wednesday, a day without a trash pick up in Fort Madison. She said the delivery should be complete by Thursday if all goes well.
“These guys will probably work til dark most days to get these out. They won’t work in heavy downpours or lightning or anything, but they’re pretty efficient,” she said.
More than 2,000 residents filled out cards or went online to register for the new carts. Residents could choose from the 65- or 95-gallon containers, with the 95-gallon costing $17.50/month and the 65-gallon set at $15/month, the amount customers are currently paying for solid waste pickup. The $15 charge replaces the $15 solid waste fee residents were being charged. Those with the 95-gallon can will see an additional $2.50 on their city water bill.
Legois said she plans for few hiccups and will be in town for the week to help with the transition. She said if residents appear to be missing their cart wait a couple days after your regular trash day or until Friday and contact the city public works department.
“If your neighbors around you got a 65-gallon and you ordered a 95-gallon they’re going to come back and get you the 95,” she said. “Don’t worry, that will happen, but if your regular route is on Monday and say by Wednesday you don’t have it, go ahead and call City Hall.”
Information on the ongoing delivery will be available on the city’s website and Facebook page, but Legois said the process should be relatively simple.
“This should be a pretty easy process for people getting what they want,” she said. “We had a really good signup. It was a combination of cards and online. If people just wanted the 65-gallon they didn’t need to respond, but we had about 2,000 people respond so that was very positive.”
She also is reminding residents that they can use their old 40-gallon cans for recycling if they just label it so city workers know. She’s encouraging residents to recycle as much as possible and said recyclables don’t have to be separated.
“The city wanted to open that up to use other other cans so that people can still utilize those and they don’t go to waste, and we really want to encourage that recycling.”
If residents want to make a change to the carts they have, they have until the end of July to contact city hall and request a change. Once the carts have been delivered, residents can move them to their regular trash locations and begin using them for weekly trash pickups.
With regard to the trash stickers, the city has stopped selling them and will allow them to be used through July 20. The city will also be setting a week-long refund period in July where they will buy back any unused stickers.