Council hears trash collection questions

By Matt Clevenger

For Miami Valley Today

WEST MILTON — Members of the West Milton Village Council held a special town hall meeting Tuesday answering questions about the village’s new municipal trash collection program, which is scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 20.

“This is something that we began discussing last summer, the summer of 2020,” Mayor Anthony Miller said. “We were looking for a way to improve service to citizens; it’s probably one of the highest complaints that the city receives on a weekly basis.”

The village plans to take over trash collection services from the current provider, Waste Management Inc., offering expanded services like weekly bulk pick-up and tree branch removal, while also helping to control rising costs over the next several years.

“The contract with Waste Management was expiring at the end of 2020, and we were looking at increases of up to 30 percent just for trash collection, not including recycling,” Miller said.

A mailing delivered to all residents of West Milton explains the new trash collection service and fees. Low volume service (48-gallon toter) will be reduced from $23.21 per month under Waste Management to $22.20 per month once the village takes over. Standard volume service (96-gallon toter) will be reduced from $25.21 per month with a supplied toter to $24.10 per month. Additional toters will cost $2.50 per month.

“The toter sizes are going to be the same as what is currently provided,” Miller said.

New red and black trash toters will be delivered after Waste Management collects the current toters. Residents who wish to change their toter size or request additional toters should call the municipal building at (937) 698-1500. “Waste Management will come by and pick up your can, and right behind that truck is going to be the West Milton truck dropping off your new West Milton can,” Miller said.

“When you get your toters, it will have instructions on it,” acting municipal manager Ben Herron said.

Residents will lose curbside recycling services for now, and all recyclables will be picked up at a central container that will be located at the intersection of Jay Street and State Route 571. The container will be electronically monitored to prevent the dumping of trash.

“The cost of the recycling service has gone up a lot,” Miller said. “We looked at some other options, and decided to go with having a centralized point in town where we can take our recyclables, too.”

Elderly residents or those with disabilities may be able to get assistance with taking recyclables to the pick-up location.

“Scott Fogle has done a really nice job organizing help for the elderly, especially during COVID,” council member Sarah Copp said. “He has also reached out to ask if we would be willing to help the elderly who still really want to recycle.”

“It’s not very far along,” she said, “but just to let you know we have been thinking about that.”

“You can still recycle if you want, or if you don’t it can just go into the can and we will take it,” Miller said. “We’re also going to be picking up any kind of yard waste or tree branches. Waste Management never did that; that’s a new service that we will be providing.”

Bagged yard waste will be picked up weekly, and crews will also pick up tree branches and limbs provided they are in the greenspace/right of way and not the street. Small sticks should be put in the toter or bundled.

“If it’s a bunch of little stuff, we’d like to have it contained somehow,” Herron said.

Several residents asked questions and commented on the trash collection program during the town hall meeting.

“I’m glad you’re going to do recycling, even if it’s in a modified form,” Carol Garber said. “It’s important.”

“You’re going to get a lot of sour grapes over this I’m sure,” Kathy Bennington said. “I applaud you for attempting to do something good for our city. I think it will work out in the end and everybody will be happy with it.”

Village council hosted the town hall during their regularly scheduled monthly workshop meeting, which was held in the Milton-Union Schools cafeteria to allow for social distancing. In other business, council members also discussed an upcoming resolution for $26,950 to replace two broken pumps at the wastewater treatment plant and heard an update on the village’s search for a replacement municipal manager.

“We have narrowed it down to one candidate,” Miller said. “We had a second interview last Saturday. We had a conversation with that candidate about what his ideas are for some of the challenges we are facing. It was good to see what kind of feedback he gave us.

“The next step for the hiring process will be actually negotiating a contract with that individual, and then formal hiring of that individual would be at a council meeting by passing a resolution,” Miller said. “That’s a discussion we will have in executive session at some point.”

The village received a total of 27 applicants for the position, including 11 who were either current or previous city managers or administrators of townships.

“It was a really good turnout,” Miller said. “It was kind of a hard choice just to even get it down to a few candidates to interview. I think it reflects well on the community that people want to work here.”

Village council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13.