Bin there done that: Bloomington council OKs garbage fees retroactively, preps for report

At its regular Wednesday meeting, Bloomington’s city council ratified garbage collection fees that expired nearly a year ago, on Nov. 1, 2020.

Sanitation worker uses a mechanical arm to empty a Bloomington solid waste cart. Screengrab from city of Bloomington video.

In the future, the council won’t have to worry about fees expiring. That’s because on Wednesday, the council eliminated the city code’s entire “sunset” clause for the fees.

The sunset clause was added as an amendment, when the council adopted the 2017 ordinance that set the fees for the new system of refuse carts.

The clause was intended to trigger a review of rates, after sufficient data had been collected by public works staff from the new system.

Wednesday’s action did not raise garbage collection rates.

Based on March 22, 2017 meeting minutes, the council was supposed to undertake a rate review last year with an eye towards possibly providing a rebate to residents who generate less garbage.

Based on the meeting minutes, it appears that the debate on the exact date of the sunset clause lasted about an hour. The initial date proposed was July 1, 2019, but public works director Adam Wason said if there were to be a sunset date, he’d prefer Nov. 1, 2020. Wason said the later date would allow more data to be collected.

On Wednesday, the ordinance passed by the city council was approved at the same meeting on the same day when it was first introduced, which required and received a unanimous vote.

Under state law, the council is able to ratify the authorization of the fees retroactively, according to assistant city attorney Larry Allen.

City council president Jim Sims said the public works department is scheduled on Oct. 20 to deliver the report that the department would have given last year. That seemed to help head off extensive council discussion of solid waste issues, which came up during the council’s hearings on the public works departmental budget. Continue reading “Bin there done that: Bloomington council OKs garbage fees retroactively, preps for report”

Updated: Travel WARNING | Bloomington trash pickup, COVID testing and vaccination clinics impacted by snow

A city of Bloomington plow truck works northbound Walnut Street just south of 3rd Street around 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2021. (Dave Askins/Square Beacon)

[Updated at 5:34 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2021] Monroe County’s emergency management director Allison Moore has issued a statement announcing that the county is now under a travel warning due to the snowy weather conditions.

A warning means that travel is can be restricted to emergency workers only, according to the announcement. During a warning, people are directed to:

(A) refrain from all travel;
(B) comply with necessary emergency measures;
(C) cooperate with public officials and disaster services forces in executing emergency operations plans; and
(D) obey and comply with the lawful directions of properly identified officers.


If your garbage is normally collected by the city of Bloomington on Tuesdays, that schedule will slip on Feb. 16 by at least a day, to Wednesday, Feb. 17, according to a news release from the city.

That’s because of the heavy snow that’s been falling since noon on Monday and the forecast for more snow and cold temperatures in the next few days.

[Updated at 4:39 p.m. on Feb. 16, 2021] The city of Bloomington has announced that garbage pickup has been canceled for the rest of the week. The news release states: “The regular weekly collection schedule is expected to resume on Monday, February 22.” Continue reading “Updated: Travel WARNING | Bloomington trash pickup, COVID testing and vaccination clinics impacted by snow”

Trash cart rate increase makes public works director think about the future of recycling: “Bloomington is a community that is known to be entrepreneurial…”

Starting in the April billing cycle, Bloomington residents will pay more every month for trash and recycling service. That’s the result of a unanimous vote on the three-member board of public works at its regular meeting on Tuesday.

In round numbers, customers will pay between $3.50 and $23 more a year, depending on the size of the trash cart they use.

The fee increase is due to costs that are charged to the city by Republic Services for processing recycled materials. Those costs have replaced payments the city previously received (“rebates”) for its recycling commodities, according to Bloomington’s director of public works, Adam Wason.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Wason spitballed a possible new way of paving local streets.

The two topics—recycling pickup charges and road resurfacing—are related. How? Continue reading “Trash cart rate increase makes public works director think about the future of recycling: “Bloomington is a community that is known to be entrepreneurial…””