Onaway seeks resolution with garbage hauler

ONAWAY – Recent garbage pick-up issues in Onaway have prompted city staff to seek a resolution with the garbage hauler.

The city has received complaints about late or missed garbage collection from customers in the city, City Manager Joe Hefele said, adding that the complaints have increased as of late. Now the city is questioning whether the hauler, Triple D Disposal of Cheboygan, is currently insured and has a performance bond as specified in a contract between the hauler and the city.

For whatever reason, the city has no signed contract and city commissioners recently voted to require the hauler to sign one. The requirement for a performance bond was dropped, but the city will ask the hauler to pay for its insurance using the city’s June 2014 service payment and provide proof of insurance, Mayor Gary Wregglesworth said.

“Generally, up until recently, we’ve been fairly pleased with the service we have, just recently things have kind of deteriorated,” he said. “We’re trying to make every effort to continue the contract to the end.”

The city is in the midst of a three-year contract with the hauler, Wregglesworth said. His own trash had been collected a few times after set collection hours, and he had heard some of the complaints from customers as well. He had heard the company was having truck difficulty.

In his report to city commissioners, Hefele said he wasn’t sure if the hauler’s insurance was valid past June 13, and the certificate the hauler provided didn’t meet the city’s requirements. He had not received any performance bond either, and referred the matter to city Attorney Mike Vogler.

Messages left with Triple D by The News were not returned as of press time Thursday.

Commissioners voted at a recent meeting to require a signed contract, dated July 1, ask the hauler to pay for insurance and drop the performance bond, Wregglesworth said. That bond had been required in bid specifications made by the city, but commissioners decided it wasn’t necessary after all.

“If they failed or for whatever reason they stopped and bailed out of the contract, it wouldn’t be that big of a thing to get someone else to take it over, and there probably wouldn’t be any damage to the city,” he said.

The city and hauler can continue to do business if the hauler agrees to the terms set forth, Hefele said. It’s still an ongoing situation, though, so he can’t predict how it will end.

“I think we’ve shown… that we’re willing to work with the hauler, but we need the hauler to work with us,” he said.

In other business:

* the city is looking to hire a part-time Department of Public Works employee to help mow the grass on city property, Hefele said. Currently the city has two full-time employees and one part-time employee. With two people working at the waste water treatment plant there isn’t enough help to handle everything the city needs to do. There’s also no backup if an employee isn’t at work.

“If we expect residents and taxpayers to take pride in their property and to mow and trim, we need to lead by example,” Hefele said. “In addition to that, we need to ensure that our entire DPW is operating efficiently and effectively.”

The employee will work up to 32 hours weekly until Aug. 29, a cost of up to $2,304 to the city, Hefele said. The money will come in part from savings realized by sharing Hefele’s position with Rogers City.

* commission members approved $29,510 in budget amendments relating to that shared position.

* commission members approved a request from Moran Iron Works to use the Edna Lound Recreation Area on Aug. 16 for a company softball outing.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.