Piqua preps for automated trash collection

By Sam Wildow

swildow@aimmediamidwest.com

PIQUA — Amy Welker, director of the Health and Sanitation Department, gave a presentation to the Piqua City Commission on Tuesday on the upcoming changes to the city’s trash collection.

The city will be moving to using automated refuse trucks, set to begin in January, which will require a number of households to adjust the pickup spots for their trash containers to the road instead of alleyways.

In September, the commission approved the purchase of three automated side load garbage trucks through the state’s Sourcewell Cooperative purchasing contract at an amount not to exceed $870,000. The city will be receiving those trucks soon and training sanitation workers in them before kicking off the new system following the new year.

“Sanitation collection workers are typically in the top five most dangerous jobs in the country, and the main reason for that is from them working in the right-of-way — in the roadway — so what this project will do is remove those workers from the roadway and allow the vehicle to do all of the heavy lifting and work from the street. So the collection vehicle will actually use a robotic arm to collect the trash containers and recycling containers, dump the contents into the truck, and then replace the container back to it’s location,” Welker said. “This process is extremely efficient and effective as a means of collecting waste products. Every other community in Miami County has already made the transition to this type of operation, and so we’re really excited to be making this transition ourselves.”

Welker said there will be an added benefit to city infrastructure.

“The alleyways were never designed to withstand the heavy traffic that our vehicles place on them,” Welker said. Welker explained the city will be transitioning to pickups from the street versus from alleyways. All homes that will be affected by this transition will receive a letter. There will be a small number of houses where the trash pickup will stay in the alley. The city will also continue its fall prevention program for elderly citizens who get their trash picked up next to their door.

Welker said the department will continue to educate residents on the new trash collection system through flyers with their utility bills.

Also on Tuesday, the commission held the first readings of four ordinances.

The first two ordinances were ordinances relating to wages of certain municipal employees. Human Resources Director Catherine Bogan said the first ordinance related to the pay schedule for full-time, non-union employees. Their pay will be adjusted for the cost of living. The next ordinance related to part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees. Their pay scales will also be adjusted for changes in the minimum wage and the cost of living.

The next ordinance updates the benefit year on the city’s health insurance benefits for city employees, and there are no other changes.

The last ordinance to receive a first reading was an ordinance to make appropriations for the city of Piqua for the year 2022. The total appropriations for 2022, including transfers, will be $101,304,639. Not including the transfers, the appropriations will be $78,623,760.

The commission will be meeting with city officials to discuss the 2022 budget at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18, in the municipal building, located at 201 W. Water St.

Next, the commission approved three resolutions, beginning with a resolution authorizing the city to purchase various water treatment chemicals.

First ward commissioner Thomas Fogt asked if the cost of those chemicals had been impacted by inflation at all.

City Manager Paul Oberdorfer said those costs have gone up between 10% and 30%, depending on the chemical. The city has budgeted $396,360 for the cost of chemicals for 2022.

Following that, the commission approved a resolution declaring the city’s intent to vacate a portion of unimproved Scudder Street and the 12-foot unimproved alley that runs along 1306 Scudder St.

Lastly, the commission approved a resolution authorizing the lease of part of inlot 9053 for downtown public parking.

Community and Economic Development Director Chris Schmiesing said the city has always had public parking on this lot but has never had a written lease agreement. The owner of the property requested a formal lease to document that they still maintain ownership of the lot even though it is being used for public purposes. There is no cost to the city.

During public comment, Stephen Smitley of Piqua advocated against Piqua’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA), which as been in effect since Oct. 1. The hours of the DORA are from noon to 10 p.m. daily.

“It does not behoove us to increase alcohol consumption in the city of Piqua,” Smitley said. He said everybody could probably tell a negative story relating to alcohol. “I would encourage you not to increase the availability of alcohol.”

Oberdorfer said the Piqua Police Department has not received any calls for service related to the DORA.

Next, Ruth Koon of Piqua spoke on behalf of the Friends of the Piqua Library. The Friends of the Piqua Public Library will hold their eighth annual Holiday Cabaret at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21, at in the Grand Ballroom of the Fort Piqua Plaza. The cabaret will feature the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Peter Stafford Wilson, as well as feature Piqua’s Dan Rosenbaum as vocalist, performing holiday favorites and timeless classics. Tickets are $50 for reserved seating and are available at the Readmore Hallmark Store in Piqua.

Also on Tuesday, the commission recognized the following Government Academy graduates: Rebecca Stanford, Steven Stanford, Jerry Eiting, Donald Wion, Yvonne Wion, Susan DeBrosse, Reganne Tate, Paul Doak, and Rebecca Doak.