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East Peoria Times-Courier - East Peoria, IL
  • City may require residents to purchase garbage toters

  • They're talking toters in East Peoria.

    The city is preparing to upgrade and modernize its garbage pickup process by requiring all residents to purchase at least one two-wheeled, hinge-lidded garbage container made of durable plastic, known generically as a toter.
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  • EAST PEORIA — They're talking toters in East Peoria. The city is preparing to upgrade and modernize its garbage pickup process by requiring all residents to purchase at least one two-wheeled, hinge-lidded garbage container made of durable plastic, known generically as a toter. City officials say the changeover from the current bag-and-can system has many benefits, including a likely reduction in future workers' compensation claims for job-related injuries, a streamlined and more efficient collection process and the near elimination of the problem of animals ripping into and emptying garbage bags on the street. “People like (the toters) once they get them,” said Mayor Dave Mingus. Details of the proposal are still being worked out, but the plan for now looks like this: Residents would be required to purchase from the city a 35-gallon toter ($44), a 65-gallon toter ($52) or a 95-gallon toter ($65). The city expects to purchase 5,000 or so toters in different sizes and sell them back to residents at cost. Currently, 41 percent of residents in the city already own a toter and wouldn't be required to buy another one. There are 9,347 pick-up stops each week in the city. The total cost to implement the program would be about $500,000, money recouped as residents bought their own toters from the city. Commissioner Dan Decker, who oversees public works for the City Council, said arrangements could be made for needy residents to pay for the toter in installments as an addition to their water bill. Residents pay for the city service in their property taxes, not a separately billed fee. The city would provide a 10-to 12-month window to give residents time to buy a toter before the city would no longer accept garbage in bags or cans, said Jackie Harrmann, the city's solid waste superintendent. The city has paid out about $200,000 in workers' compensation claims in the last five years. Collectors don't manually lift toters and dump them in the trucks. The toter is rolled to the back of the truck and dumped mechanically. “Lifting and twisting repetitively is a recipe for disaster, and over the years we see high claims for injured shoulders and backs,” Decker said. “If we try to limit those, any way we can limit labor intensity early on, and have a healthier worker later on in a career.” The program could be as much as a year away from being implemented. In other action, the council: - Changed its ordinances to allow construction of electric security fences primarily in industrial areas and only inside a perimeter fence on the property. - Allowed for the special use of property at 526 High Point Lane for a small-batch whiskey and bourbon distillery. - Authorized equestrian subdivisions in appropriate areas inside city limits, each proposal from a developer to be judged on a case-by-case basis.
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