Portage set to start recycling in earnest
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent December 4, 2012 11:14PM
Updated: December 5, 2012 9:27AM
PORTAGE — Residents can expect to see their two new city provided garbage cans in January and transition to new garbage collection services starting in February, Assistant Street Department Superintendent Randy Reeder told the Portage City Council on Tuesday night.
Residents with bulky items that won’t fit within the toter will have those items collected for free during a one-week period each month — an amnesty period, according to Reeder.
“Other municipalities charge for everything. I thought it reasonable for the residents to have an amnesty week the first week of every month,” Reeder said.
Portage is moving toward an automated garbage collection system to save money, and one area especially targeted for savings is in recycling. Increasing the rate of recycling reduces landfill cost fees. Reeder estimated Portage has spent $700,000 to date this year on landfill costs with a recycling rate of 6 percent.
Council President Sue Lynch seeks higher rates: “My goal is to get recycling up to 65 percent. We’re about 60 percent off right now.”
The toter with the green lid is reserved for recyclables, which will be collected every two weeks rather than every week for garbage. Damaged toters will be replaced at a cost of $100 to the resident.
Salary ordinance OK’d
A city salary ordinance affecting department heads and assistant heads was approved on second reading.
Prior administrations had relative carte blanche to tailor offers of employment to prospective employees to attract talent, according to Mayor James Snyder.
Snyder enticed department heads and assistant department heads to sign on with the city by offering four weeks of paid vacation during their first year.
The salary ordinance adopted by the council brings department heads and assistants back into city personnel policy practices and reduces assistant head vacations next year to one week. Department heads will receive two weeks paid vacation leave unless the council approves more.
Councilman John Cannon was disturbed by the changes. “Anyone that was promised something under previous policy should receive what was promised.”
Snyder, going to bat for the affected employees, said, “These employees do not have protections. They come with the understanding that in four years they will be gone with a change in administration.”
“We’ll be here with individual requests at the next meeting,” Snyder said.