By Amanda Ensinger
A local township is considering having unified trash collection. While nothing has been decided yet, Prairie Township is considering transforming how trash is collected in the community.
“We are currently evaluating residential trash pickup in the township and will be having updates and discussion at future trustee meetings,” said Rob Peters, township administrator at a recent board meeting. “We are not in a consortium and we don’t have one trash hauler for the township.”
Peters said the township plans to examine this further and has been meeting with residential trash haulers to see if there is a partnership opportunity that would benefit the township and residents. The hope of having one trash hauler for the township is that it would bring more structure to trash collection in the region.
“The information we have gotten from haulers is that we have trash collected in the township different days Monday through Thursday,” Peters said. “This means some people who live on the same street don’t have their trash collected on the same day, so four days a week trash could be set out on the same street.”
What the township hopes to do is have each street have the same collection day, so neighbors don’t have trash set out almost every day of the week.
“We are having a rat issue with the trash on the streets almost every day,” Peters said. “Having trash frequently out is a food source for them. Not having trash out four days a week would help solve this problem.”
The township has received an increase in complaints related to rats.
Peters said that approximately 15 years ago, the township looked into having one single trash hauler for the township, but residents were against the idea.
In other news, the board also gave an update on the sidewalk program.
The program, which has taken place for over 15 years, offers township property owners a 10-year interest free loan to repair their sidewalks. The loans are added to the property taxes of residents and paid off over a decade. However, if a resident moves, then they must pay the remaining balance before the sale of their home can be completed.
Previously, the program was voluntary, but in recent years the township added a component to the program where they make residents replace sidewalks that are dangerous. Also, residents can report sidewalks that need to be repaired.
A few other revisions to the program in recent years include that there is a minimum cost of $450 to repair any sidewalk and residents need to replace more than one slab of a sidewalk.
However, this year the program made some substantial changes as a result of the financial situation many Americans are facing.
“This year’s program was on a voluntary basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Peters said.
He said 15 property owners participated with a combined assessment of $24,570.
Peters said the board agreed to make the program voluntary this year because of the financial impact COVID-19 has had on many residents.
“We didn’t want to make someone’s financial situation harder,” Peters said. “Unless their sidewalk was very dangerous and really needed replaced, we made it voluntary.”