The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

Council meeting turns testy over trash talk

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

Tempers flared during Monday night’s meeting of Van Wert City Council and once again, much of it was connected to trash.

Health, Service and Safety Committee Chairman Bill Marshall distributed folders to fellow council members with information about trash management in other municipalities around the area.

Councilman At-Large Bill Marshall talks about trash management during Monday’s Van Wert City Council meeting. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

“One of the many complaints from city residents is the removal of objects both large and small that would qualify outside of normal trash pickup parameters,” Marshall said. “Efforts have been made in the past to address these difficulties but they have been woefully inadequate. To be sensitive to these needs I’m asking each council member to review all information offered in the folder related to how like cities (Bluffton, Antwerp, Payne, Delphos, Fremont, Bryan and Minster) address the collection and disposal and collection and processing of recyclable materials.”

Marshall went on to say he’s asking for an open dialogue about trash management during a special Council of the Whole meeting scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, July 27, in Council Chambers. The public is welcome to attend.

Some in the audience disapproved and seemed to take the idea as a path to a single trash hauler, but Marshall and Council President Jerry Mazur said the information is merely for review and discussion and both noted no decisions have been made.

Later in the meeting, yet another discussion about enforcement of the city’s junk and rubbish laws led to more heated comments between members of the audience and council members and a plea from Second Ward Councilman David Stinnett.

“We have to learn to work together,” Stinnett forcefully stated. “The city and the citizens have to step up and work together. There are legitimate health concerns here with trash and rubbish – it needs to be addressed. We’ve tried to address it but we can’t make everyone happy.”

The discussion also included the definition of junk and rubbish, including broken toys and at times strayed to weeds at the reservoir.

On a related topic, city resident Joe Jared asked council to ease restrictions on junk cars and said more time should be granted for owners to fix them. Law Director John Hatcher responded by saying the city is willing to grant an extension to anyone who is working to fix the problem. Mazur noted the problem is with inoperable cars that have sat on the street for several months.

During his report to council, Mayor Ken Markward said the city may again provide free tickets that allow the one time dumping of large appliances and furniture at Young’s Waste Service Transfer Station.

In other business during the often testy meeting, council members agreed to prepare legislation to amend water and sewer rates, which will change to monthly billing once new meters are installed throughout the city. Rates won’t increase but the turn-on fee will increase from $25 to $50. A discussion ensued about the fee increase and when water service will be turned off for non-payment. A final decision on shut-offs for delinquencies will be made at a future date.

Council also approved an ordinance for supplemental expenditures, including $4,561 for new equipment to continue live streaming of meetings, and a pair of “Then and Now” expenditures, one for $22,000 for Van Wert City Crime Victims, and the other for $3,270 to Henschen and Associates for software maintenance for Van Wert Municipal Court.

The next meeting of Van Wert City Council will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 11, in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St.

POSTED: 06/28/22 at 3:50 am. FILED UNDER: News