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Garbage Discussion Causes a Stink in Sauk Rapids

Sauk Rapids Government Center

SAUK RAPIDS – A relationship between a man and his garbage hauler is a very personal thing.  The Sauk Rapids City Council’s plan to come between them caused a stink during a special meeting on Wednesday night.

The council held a public hearing to consider a resolution with the intent of doing away with the current free market system, and going toward an organized collection system.

It’s a plan that the council voted down in 2009.

City officials have brought it up again because they say there are currently four garbage haulers driving-up and down the streets, tearing up the roads.  They say a more organized system would minimize road maintenance.

A total of 27 residents spoke at the hearing, 17 were against it, mostly saying “they want to keep their right to choose”.  Ten spoke in favor of the plan, “mostly for environmental and road preservation” concerns.

The President of West Central Sanitation of Willmar encouraged the council to talk to the haulers and workout a compromise.

In the end, the city council voted against the more popular opinion and voted to move forward with the organized collection system.  Paul Weber says he voted against it three years ago, but changed his vote this time.  Mayor Dave Saunders say he regretted his vote last time, and also changed his vote.  He says he is interested in hearing about ways to give discounts to seniors.  Council members Bill Bard and Brad Gunderson also voted for the resolution.  The lone council member who voted against it was Jared Gapinski, although he says he’s 100 percent for it, but felt he had to vote with the people he represents.

Waite Park and St. Joseph already have a single hauler system.  St. Cloud does their own garbage collection.

Wednesday night’s decision does not mean it’s a done deal, it’s just the first step in that direction.  The process would take at least six months, and will include many discussions about the types of plans and services could be offered to residents.

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