Council moves toward smaller city trash bins

Relief may be coming for Fort Dodge residents tired of struggling with their large garbage and recycling containers.

The City Council agreed on Monday to purchase some new 45-gallon capacity containers to replace some of the 95-gallon versions now in use.

Not every sanitation customer will get a smaller container, however. Council members on Monday discussed buying 150 containers – 75 for garbage and 75 for recycling materials. The city staff will review the sanitation budget and make a recommendation on how many can be purchased. The council is scheduled to formally vote to buy the containers during its July 28 meeting.

Just how the smaller containers will be distributed hasn’t been determined. Councilman Jeffrey Halter suggested that the elderly and disabled residents be given first priority.

Each of the city’s roughly 8,400 sanitation customers received two of the 95-gallon containers in January as the Public Works Department switched to a new collection method that relies on trucks with mechanical arms to pick up both garbage and recycling materials. The container with the green lid is for garbage. The one with the blue lid that has the words ”Recycling Only” on it is for recycling materials.

Each container is 45 inches high and 27 inches wide.

In October 2013, the City Council purchased about 16,000 of them from Otto Environmental Systems of Charlotte, N.C., for $822,036.98.

This spring, city officials began getting complaints from residents who said the containers are too big.

Following a May 27 council discussion of the issue, Public Works Director Greg Koch did some research on the 45-gallon containers, which he said are a new product.

Koch said 11 residents who have complained about the larger containers came to the city’s Central Garage to check out a sample of 45-gallon container. He said nine of them liked it.

A 45-gallon container costs $41.50, according to Koch.

Mayor Matt Bemrich suggested that residents who request a smaller container be required to pay a portion of its cost. While no final decision was made, the majority of council members indicated that they were not in favor of charging for the smaller containers.