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County collection site results in trash talks

By Staff | May 16, 2010

If they haven’t already done so, Winnebago’s mayor and a Faribault County commissioner will be doing some trash-talking soon.

City Council members learned Tuesday night that the county’s collection site for rural residents to drop off recyclable items is often used as a dumping ground.

Despite a red and white sign which reads — Recyclable items only, Absolutely no Garbage! — resident Bret Osborn says trash often is placed next to the green receptacles.

Osborn says before going to the council meeting he saw five bags of garbage piled up.

“I don’t think I should have to pick up three or four bags of garbage every time I want to mow my lawn,” he says. “I don’t feel I should have to pick up after all the country people.”

The council agreed to have Mayor Randy Nowak meet with District 4 commissioner Tom Loveall to discuss the problem.

Loveall says he uses the collections site and there were times there was garbage.

“If it has become a nuisance, there is no way we’re going to let that happen and continue,” he says. “We’ll sit down and discuss it and get this taken care of and worked out.”

While the collection containers are located within the city — at Fourth Avenue Southeast — they are placed near a storage building used by the sheriff’s department.

Police Chief Bob Toland says garbage at the location has been an on-going problem the past two years.

Toland says he’s had little luck getting Billeye Rabbe — solid waste coordinator for Faribault and Martin counties — to address the matter.

“She is out of Fairmont and does not want to come over here and deal with this at all,” Toland says. “When I try calling her direct, I got a lot of rhetoric.”

Toland says Waste Management has been contracted for scheduled pickups, but Rabbe does not respond when the site is overflowing between pickups.

Councilwoman Holly Stauffer asked if the city could take the site away.

Toland says the site may not comply with the zoning ordinance and it could be shut down.

Nowak says if the site becomes a public nuisance the city can take action.

Osborn and public works employee Clint Eastman told the council they have taken pictures of the trash.

Councilman Dana Gates suggested the city put together a file with photos to present to county officials if necessary.

In other business:

• the council has given Bolton & Menk engineer Wes Brown the go-ahead to draft a new proposal to evaluate five blocks of Main Street for sewer main repairs.

Initially, a proposal estimated at $9,500 was for a two-block area — between First Avenue Southwest and First Avenue Northwest.

The issue has come up because Main Street business owners are experiencing deteriorating sewer line issues.

Brown says an option to reroute the main to the rear of the buildings only addresses the west side of the street and not the east side.

To read more of this story, see this week’s Register.