Portage to continue garbage pickup at mobile home parks for now
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent June 20, 2012 11:40PM
Updated: June 21, 2012 5:37PM
PORTAGE — The city of Portage will continue to pick up the garbage of most mobile home residents for at least the foreseeable future.
The Portage ordinance committee failed to take action on the ordinance, which as written, required the immediate elimination of city garbage pick-up in mobile home parks. The ordinance had been sent back to the committee when the City Council failed to pass it at the last council meeting.
The ordinance was unacceptable to councilman John Cannon, who represents about 1,700 mobile home residents. Cannon forced a delay in the ordinance by requiring a second reading at a second council meeting.
Councilman Matt Scheuer admits that not including a longer time frame was a mistake but he thought the council would discuss the issue and change the time frame to allow mobile home park operators time to make other arrangements.
Wednesday night two attempts were made to include a longer time frame — 90 days and at the beginning of 2013. Neither motion was seconded and the ordinance died.
Scheuer plans on reintroducing the ordinance at the next committee meeting. Meanwhile, he hopes to talk to mobile home park residents and operators to get a better handle on what an acceptable phase-in period would be. He thinks 90 days is good but is willing to go along with a new-year start up.
The issue was always about saving money and reducing the workload for employees to reduce injuries, according to Scheuer. He also believes that mobile home parks, as private for-profit enterprises, and not the city, should provide garbage pick-up services for residents.
As for private garbage pick-up in mobile home parks, it’s not a question of if, but when. “I believe it needs to happen and it’s going to happen, but it needs to be part of a bigger picture,” said councilman Ted Uzelac.
For at least one mobile home park, Ingram Manor, it’s going to happen July 1, when Waste Management will begin picking up residents’ trash, provided the Board of Works approves the change.
“I’m pretty happy the process worked,” said Cannon. One thing he’s not happy about is the recurring use of procedural votes to suspend rules at City Council meetings. That allows for the adoption of an ordinance when first introduced.
“It’s for emergency purposes only and it’s being abused,” said Cannon. “We’ve picked up the garbage for 40 years. What’s another 30 days?”