Marion council OKs campaign for yard waste

PosterThe Marion City Council approved a marketing campaign for yard waste disposal during its Sept. 30 meeting.

The discussion started two weeks earlier when the council began considering ways to educate the public on controlling yard waste so that it didn?t end up in the city storm drain system.

Roger Holter, interim city administrator, said he was following up on the council?s request to look at a marketing presentation.

?We have three samples of inserts that can go with the utility billing and as community posters,? he said.

Holter explained the goal of the posters/inserts was to increase awareness.

?It is everyone?s responsibility to prevent flooding in our community from cooperation instead of municipal penalty ordinances,? he stated.

The council unanimously approved the marketing approach and left the decision on which posters or inserts to use up to the administrative staff.

Holter also discussed the cost associated with the posters and flyers.

In a quote from Hoch Publishing, a legal-size poster in full color would be $10 for set up and 75 cents each.

One thousand flyers would cost between $40 and $120 depending on one or two-sided and color or black and white.

The issue of clogged storm sewer systems was prompted by the council in mid-August, and following the immense amount of rainfall in July, according to information from former city administrator Doug Kjellin.

At the Sept. 16 meeting, Kjellin said he would advise the council to carefully review an ordinance he presented before passing it.

Citing reasons why, Kjellin said ordinances typically need to have ?some sort of teeth to them? which would involve a fine.

?At what point would the proof of who was responsible for blowing the grass into the street need to be established?? he asked.

He also asked whether the council wanted to take city court time to go through a series of small infractions or fine requirements for doing this and who would be writing and receiving tickets (landowner or tenant).

What?s the solution?

Based on Kjellin?s recommendation and Councilor Todd Heitschmidt?s suggestion, Holter agreed the public should be involved.

?If (people) understand this is an issue and let them know their cooperation would be greatly appreciated,? he said.

?If we could have cooperation in trying to keep grass in the yard and not in the middle of the street, it would assist (the city) in the future.?

Councilor Todd Heitschmidt asked Kjellin if the city crews said there was a problem.

?I thought it was grass clippings we were talking about,? Heitschmidt said referring to other items listed in the ordinance. ?In general, I don?t see a lot of limbs, brush (or other items) thrown in the street.?

The issue, Kjellin added, is not once the debris goes down the storm sewer drain because once yard debris is down the system, it will flush out.

The biggest problem, he said, is cleaning the grates at the time of the flooding event and keeping them open from any particular accumulation on top.

?We do have a crew that goes out when it starts raining and they rake it out,? he said. ?A small amount will get hung up in the grates.?

Marketing idea

Heitschmidt said coming up with some type of marketing campaign to get the word out about this issue might be a good solution.

?We can pass an ordinance, but the fees aren?t enough because we would spend more time in collecting that,? he said.

Instead, Heitschmidt said he wondered if another approach might just be in informing the residents that throwing, raking or depositing things in the street is unacceptable.

?The area I see is leaves and not grass,? he said. ?Who are you going to get in the fall to say: ?Well, this blew down from someone else?s place.??

Heitschmidt said he hoped the city could take a different route than an ordinance because that would be a waste of time.

?We don?t need to take police staff time or draft an ordinance,? he said.

Mayor Mary Olson agreed.

Written By
More from Patty Decker
Time to retool
Doug Kjellin, 49, former city administrator in Marion, recently went from being...
Read More