Two Republic Services officials came to last week’s Hoopeston City Council meeting last week to address some concerns the council and local customers had about garbage pick-up in the city.
They were also there to address an issue Republic was seeing along its routes in Hoopeston.
That issue involved residents attempting to dispose of items that are not considered household garbage in Republic garbage totes.
Republic Municipal Manager Tony Moore and Operations Manager Toby Wolfe distributed photos that displayed some of the items of concern that had been placed in garbage totes in Hoopeston.
These items included building materials, furniture and yard waste that are beyond the scope of what is acceptable for the garbage totes.
These types of materials, especially the building materials, can be hard on the garbage truck’s compacting system, Wolfe said, and can cause equipment to breakdown.
Wolfe said the truck’s compacting system as much household garbage as can be fit in the totes and clarified that the company will empty totes whether the lid on them is closed or not.
He said they prefer for the lid to be closed on them since it keeps the garbage from spilling out and keeps animals from getting into the tote.
Wolfe also asked that residents consider putting their totes outside the night before pick-up as Republic’s drivers are on a flex schedule due to weather and sometimes start their routes at 2 a.m. if needed.
They also addressed some rumors that had been floating around social media, specifically the number of totes a residence is allowed. They said Republic’s contract with Hoopeston allows for two totes per residence and additional totes can be added for a cost of $6 per tote per month.
Moore and Wolfe also fielded questions from the council and the residents who attended the meeting regarding concerns about garbage pick-up schedules and how garbage is being picked up by Republic drivers.
Alderwoman Robin Lawson said she had heard several concerns from her constituents and on social media about garbage pick-up and asked several questions during the meeting.
Alderman Bill Goodwine also chimed in with several questions of his own, having also heard concerns from his constituents.
Moore and Wolfe answered each of the questions and each time encouraged the council members and residents who have either general or specific concerns about garbage pick-up to contact Republic directly at 217-554-7016 so that the issues can be addressed in a timely manner.
Moore said there has been some issues with customers getting through to the right office as a old phone number for Republic is still circulating and leads callers to another branch of Republic Services.
He said the correct number to call is 217-554-7016, which is also listed on the city’s website, as that will connect you with Republic’s local branch office in Danville.
Moore said also gave each council member his card and told them to contact either him or Wolfe directly if they have any concerns or issues in the future.
“Communication is really the key to how we make things better,” he said.
In other business, the council discussed the possibility of adding a K9 unit to the Hoopeston Police Department.
Alderman Carl Ankenbrand said the Hoopeston Police Committee met Dec. 26 to discuss the idea and heard a presentation by Officer Clayton Cahoe, who requested the committee consider adding a K9 unit.
Ankenbrand said Cahoe estimated the training costs for the dog and officer would be around $15,000 and adding a vehicle for the K9 unit would be $48,500 for a new vehicle or $10-15,000 for a used one.
Ankenbrand said there would be other unknown costs, such as mandatory overtime for the officer to care for the dog, associated with adding the K9 unit.
Cahoe told the committee the K9 unit would be useful for purposes beyond sniffing out drugs, pointing to uses such as searching for missing persons.
Ankenbrand said he wasn’t opposed to the idea, but said the council would need to figure out how to fund the unit before moving forward.
Alderman Alex Houmes supported the idea of adding a K9 unit to the department.
Goodwine, however, said that the council needs to be careful with its spending as there are several other areas that may need to take priority, citing the city’s continued efforts to bring down dangerous trees and the need to catch up on the police pension.
In other business:
- Lawson reported the city’s new fire truck will arrive in July or August.
- Lawson also informed residents that Cash Bash tickets are now available and to contact members of the Hoopeston Fire Department if interested.
- Alderman Jeff Wise reported around 80 trees have been cut down by city workers. Wise said almost as many stumps need to be ground down and Houmes suggested park workers be trained on the stump grinding machine so they could help with work when possible.
- Mayor Bill Crusinberry warned local residents about door-to-door salesmen, specifically those trying to sell electric aggregation programs. He said the city’s solicitation ordinance requires that solicitors register with the city and none are currently registered.
- Crusinberry said he would contact the lawyer of the Essex building’s owner to ask about the status of the building after Ankenbrand asked what was going on with the building.
The Hoopeston City Council will next meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 21 at Hoopeston City Hall.