QUINCY — The popular citywide cleanup, typically scheduled for the last Saturday in September, now will become a five-day weekday event during the last week in September.
Jeffrey Conte, director of public works, says Republic Services is having problems with drivers, and they typically would need 10 to 15 drivers for a single-day citywide cleanup. He also says Republic has a shortage of trucks, and regulations from the Department of Transportation have changed (but Conte didn’t elaborate).
Aldermen voted during Monday’s Quincy City Council meeting to make a yet-to-be named drop-off site Monday through Friday, Sept. 26-30, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Last year’s event was at the old Motorola building parking lot at 30th and Locust.)
Conte told aldermen he learned less than two weeks ago of Republic’s wish to make the event a week-long affair.
“Our contract with Republic doesn’t state the manner in which the cleanup has to take. It’s within their rights in the contract to offer this,” Conte said.
Several aldermen asked if the cleanup site could stay open past 5 p.m. for at least one day to accommodate people who work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
“Republic has agreed to do that. I think they’re trying to work with us,” Conte said.
Conte also said if next year’s citywide cleanup is on a Saturday, it likely will need to be staffed by city employees. Republic signed a five-year contract with the city in 2019, and Conte doesn’t anticipate their staffing issues to be improved in 2023.
“I can try to get them to stay a little bit later, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to stay much later than 6 p.m.,” he said. “This kind of happened last minute. It was a surprise to us as well. We’re dealing with it the best as we can. We should have had a bit more time to plan it, but it is what it is.”
Jeff Bergman, R-2, wanted to make it clear: This decision was not the city’s choice.
“This was put upon us by Republic, based on their lack of resources, that they currently can’t do it as it has been done in the past,” he said. “This was not the city of Quincy looking to make this change.
“This is … I don’t like this. This has been one of the best values of tax dollars that we’ve been able to use, to show all the taxpayers that we’re doing something that they can utilize. This is very unfortunate.”
Bergman then was one of four aldermen — Greg Fletcher, R-1, David Bauer, D-2, and Parker Freiburg, R-3 — to vote against the resolution. Richie Reis, D-6, voted present.
“I’d like it to be on Saturday so everybody can utilize it as they have in the past,” Bergman said after the meeting. “I do understand because of the lack of resources from the company taking care of the garbage. They don’t have the manpower to do it. They’re in the same boat as everybody else.
“This was more of a vote of frustration and a vote for the public who feels frustrated that we’re going to five days during working hours. I want them to feel like they have a voice. We want it to go back to the old way. We knew to this was not the city’s doing, but we have no option. I think everybody who voted no just voted no out of frustration, both for the public and the taxpayer than against the program itself.”
Aldermen heard a report from Chuck Bevelheimer, director of planning and development, studying the scope of tax-exempt/non-profit land use within the city. He said only 379 of the city’s 16,985 lots (2.2 percent), are tax-exempt, but 2,079 of the city’s 8,663 acres (24 percent) are tax-exempt. He provided aldermen with a ward-by-ward color-coded breakdown.
“I’ve been looking at (the report) for several weeks,” Quincy Mayor Mike Troup said. “As we look at what options we have to put up an apartment complex or townhouses or whatever else within the city limits, this is quite an interesting part of the equation.”
“I just see a bunch of computer ink that we spent money on, but I don’t really see anything we can do anything about,” Eric Entrup, R-1, said.
“I think it’s one of the most interesting documents I’ve seen in three years,” Ben Uzelac, D-7, said. “So I would love to have more of these.”
Aldermen also approved:
- A request by Blessed Sacrament Church to conduct a raffle and have the bond requirement waived from Aug. 27 to Sept. 10.
- A special event application from Nital Patel of the Alzheimer’s Association to hold the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Quincy on Sept. 24 in Upper Moorman Park.
- A special event application from Greg Wittland of Blessed Sacrament Parish to hold Septemberfest from 5-11 p.m. Sept. 10.
- A special event application from Bob Daly of WGCA Radio to hold the Moonlight Ride for Hunger bicycle ride from 7-11 p.m. Sept. 10 that begins and ends at Clat Adams Park.
- A special event application from the Tri-State Diversity Coalition to hold Pride in the Park from noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 18 in Clat Adams Park.
- The addition of Mark Freiburg to the Police Pension Fund Board of Trustees for a two-year term.
- The execution of Quincy Regional Airport’s supplemental grant and all other agreements and documentation required for the Quincy Regional airport Phase 3 rehabilitation and reconstruction of runway 4/22.
- The closure of 20th Street between Sycamore and Spruce for six Quincy University football games this fall.
Two sergeants with the Quincy Police Department, Travis Wiemelt and Chad Logsdon, were recognized for 20 years of service. Troup also declared Tuesday, Aug. 30 as Phil and Bonnie Conover Day in Quincy.
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