Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
The Gardner Disposal Contract for the 2021 Citywide Cleanup was not approved at the April 5 Gardner City Council meeting.
Council members pulled the item from the consent agenda and tabled it for the next meeting.
Todd Winters, council president, said he was in favor for the contract but had questions on changes and restrictions.
Jim Pruetting, city administrator, said the city didn’t want to go over $100,000 and the cost had gone up 600 to 700 percent since the City Wide Cleanup began.
Steve Shute, mayor, said it was a pretty established program that was becoming very expensive for the city.
“But it’s the way we have to do it to keep costs down,” he said.
Mark Baldwin, council vice president, said he wanted to know if the city had a bare minimum contract requirement with Gardner Disposal.
Pruetting said it was $40,000 bare minimum for the contract.
Baldwin said the city was spending more for each resident on Citywide Cleanup, and it had grown exponentially.
“I can’t imagine less than the max being authorized,” he said.
Baldwin said the program wasn’t a benefit for every Gardner resident.
“It’s a problem people point to about not spending tax dollars wisely,” he said.
Baldwin said he’s like to see a ticketing program for the program based on the number of homes that sign up multiplied by cost.
“They can put a ticket on their garbage for that day, and it’s still going to be cheaper than the max four item pickup,” he said. “People want to use this service but not with any tax dollars.”
Randy Gregorcyk, council member, said he would like to see prudent measures put in place.
“Only maybe every third house has one large bulky item and one to two houses had zero items,” he said. “Neighbors are subsidizing each other.”
Gregorcyk said ticketing could drive down participation and regulate.
“Because of Covid we all have a ton of stuff now we want to get rid of,” he said.
Pruetting said if the city decided to change the program to a ticketing process they would have to resend out for a rebid on the contract.
Winters said the city should keep the program the way it is for this year and redo it for 2022.
Tory Roberts, council member, said it would be hard to communicate the change in a short amount of time.
“People will still put out their trash,” she said.
Kacy Deaton, council member, said residents are still also going to put out more than the four bulky items max for pickup.
“Collectors aren’t going to police it,” she said. “I am worried about a max not existing.”
Pruetting said it would be burdensome for Gardner Disposal to pickup bulky items from certain houses only.
Baldwin said he didn’t think See CLEAN, page 6
From CLEAN, page 1
it would be an extra burden.
“They will see a ticket and pick it up or not,” he said.
Gregorcyk said it could be an administrative burden.
Roberts said Gardner Disposal had probably planned their staffing for the Citywide Cleanup dates in May.
Winters said he always receives positive feedback from citizens on the program.
Shute said a lot of residents were mad in 2020 when the city cancelled the program.
“I don’t think we have time to change,” he said.
Gregoryck said he had time supporting the program and supported Baldwin’s idea of a ticketting program.
Pruetting said he could have city staff look at the parameters and offset costs of a ticketing program.
Winters and Gregorcyk said they would like to the numbers and cost for offset.
Shute said the bulk rate is negotiated ahead of time. Pruetting said the range is based on items.
Baldwin said it has to be a win win for everyone.
“What does it take to make it worth it for Gardner Disposal” he said.
Shute said what if Gardner Disposal wants the city to backup a minimum of $40,000 for a contract.
Baldwin said cost would be based on ticket fees and participants.
“What do they care how they get the money,” he said.
Gregorcyk said he wanted to know the data gleaned from the program.
“It’s provided with good intentions, but there is no data to show if the city needs the service,” he said.
Winters and Shute said there would be big backlash from residents if the city cancelled or changed the way the program has operated.

In other business:
Council passed two new business items.
The first was for a voluntary annexation of property west of the Hilltop Ridge development to receive utilities from the City.
The second was for changing the city’s 40 – 50 year old burn restrictions.
Jim Pruetting said the ordinance currently bans residents from burning on Sundays and holidays.
Pruetting said he had reached out to the fire chief on the matter and residents would still have to go through the burn permit application process.
Shute said a lot of people didn’t realize there were prohibitions on the burning.
Shirley Allenbrand, sixth district county commissioner, had been invited to present county updates to the dity, but didn’t show.