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Parking Restrictions Eyed for Automated Recycling Proposal

At the last public safety committee, council members asked for a cost-benefit analysis. That discussion — and more — continued on Monday night.

City officials are considering a move that would switch the city’s recycling collection to an automated process.

Think big trucks and blue bins.

But some city council members still have a few concerns about the proposal — particularly the idea of a parking ban on pick-up days.

At the last public safety committee, council members asked for a cost-benefit analysis. That discussion continued on Monday night.

In an effort to streamline waste collection — and save money in the long run — city officials are eyeing a plan to begin distributing plastic recycling containers to residents this year.

City officials hope to switch the method of garbage collection to recycling through an automated process. But, if approved, the plan would be implemented in phases.

The proposal would cost the city an estimated $53 for each of the 18,000 containers. The city would also need at least two additional large trucks, at about $250,000 each.

The total capital improvement cost would be about $1.5 million.

However, city officials have said the move could save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars each year — through saved labor costs and fewer workers’ compensation claims as well as income from the recycled materials.

In a nutshell, the city receives money for recycled materials and pays to send stuff to a landfill.

Joe Beno, the city’s public works director, said that the number of people recycling would also likely increase. A 50 percent increase in the volume of recycling, would mean an additional $100,000 in revenue, he said.

The issue seemed to gain support from the committee members.

“Obviously, this is definitely a good and altruistic idea and eco-friendly, and that makes a lot of sense on that side,” said Shawn Juris, the Ward 3 councilman and chairman of the committee. “After the seven-year payback period, we’re in good shape.”

But the issue kept returning to possible parking restrictions.

“The cost-benefit analysis will likely favor taking this step,” said Ward 1 councilman David Anderson. “I am not on this committee, but I am not for the parking ban.”

There may not be another option, should council decide to implement the automated process in the entire city.

“We feel that if we couldn’t do the parking restrictions, then we couldn’t use (recycling containers) in the whole city,” Beno said. “It would just be a big struggle with 12 to 50 miles of the streets, going around cars.”

Council is expected to make a decision at an upcoming meeting.

Chris Olsen February 12, 2013 at 11:49 AM
why the parking bans? why pick up both containers on the same day anyways...why not recycle on one day and trash the other day....there is no savings sending two different trucks on the same day as opposed to having alternate days for each of the pick ups...i am certain the residents could figure out to put the grren bin out on one day and the blue bin the next....perhaps the city could paint the name of the day on the cans as they distribute? certainly there is an easier fix to this situation than proposing a parking ban on trash and recycling pick up days...and then if the ban is in place i can hear it already, the poorer neighborhoods, whwere houses are closer together, will not be able to have recycle bins and the thought will be " that the lower class citizens are not intelligent or sophisticated enough to recycle anyways" oy vey!
Christina Cocchiarale Ward February 12, 2013 at 01:25 PM
Yeah. I think the parking bans are ridiculous. They handled it fine with the big garbage cans. And this whole thing of spending that much money....I know, I know, save the $ in the long run but that's a whole chunk of change that I think could be spent on other things within the city. There. Let the bashing begin. I like Chris Olsen's ideas.
Heather February 12, 2013 at 01:36 PM
This is exactly what I was thinking. Just do recycling on another day.
will February 12, 2013 at 03:33 PM
There are a few problems with parking bans though.... First and foremost is the fact that there is a lack of parking in general for the city. I live near Calannis (no flame wars please) and with the city ordering him to limit the cars on his property and basically telling him park on the street that causes a problem. Factor in the day care near his shop as well as the apartment complex there which utilizes only street parking, that is a major potential hassle. As is, a lot of people park on the side of the street they are not supposed to when picking up or dropping off kids at the childcare. Another concern I have not seen mentioned is the potential for layoffs with the new system. They want to cut down on worker's comp claims, fine.. that means there may be fewer workers to file these claims. I am all for the city trying to save money since they could use the difference elsewhere, however, it may end up costing the residents in the long run.
John Kopecky February 12, 2013 at 04:21 PM
7 year payback? Lets see. $1.5 million divided by a denominator of $100,000 additional revenue per year. That shows me a payback of 15 years. Where is Shawn Juris getting the 7 year number.
Gina J. February 12, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Yesterday was a prime example as to why we need blue bins. I spent 30 minutes hunting down my blue bags full of recyclables because the wind blew it all over the city before it was picked up. I apologize to anyone if my used up cans of cat food landed in your yard and understand why my backyard looks like a ups dumping site full of someones well intended recycling of card board boxes. Our city looks like a dump when this happens so council do us all a favor and figure it out.
The original Bill February 12, 2013 at 04:42 PM
So what if it's 7 or 15? Bottom line it IS going to save money in the long run.
The original Bill February 12, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Chris I think this is the first time I actually agree with you. I wonder if you have sent an email to your councilperson to tell them your idea. Maybe they haven't even thought about this. You should definitely tell them.
John Kopecky February 12, 2013 at 04:48 PM
@Original Bill. Because numbers matter. Where is the other money coming from. Is the city laying off two refuse workers to make up the other $100K+? What is the life expectancy of the new bins. If the bins only last 10 years (seems probably long as when I lived in another state it seemed we got new bins every 5 years) then this proposal never breaks even as we'd need to spend another $1Million on new bins in a decade. Don't get me wrong. I'm in support of the bins. The "blue bag" system is pretty annoying. I just don't like made up "payback" calculations. As someone who works in a business that lives and dies by accurate investment payback calculations I get very skeptical. After all, its $1.5 million of our tax dollars at stake here. We have a tax levy on the books to raise $3.5 million for schools. If this recycling plan never makes back the investment it's pretty foolish.
Pat Ballasch February 12, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Good line of thinking on NOT having parking bans. The 2 day pick up is so logical & avoids creating problems. It would be interesting to see a chart with a pay back break down. The initial 1.5 million cost is usually suspect. This type of expenditure usually balloons. Does the 7 year payback take into consideration the life of the trucks? What's their lifespan & maintenance cost? Where can the citizens see the breakdown of this proposal?
DLSJR February 12, 2013 at 04:57 PM
What is going to happen to commercial apartment buildings recycling pick up? Is it going to be cut like our city trash service was with the automated system? There are 20+ unit apartment buildings in Lakewood that do not have off street parking. Where are those people going to park their car? I see cars being towed left and right on Clifton with the current parking restrictions, and they want to possibly add other parking band on top of it? Also don't even think about having my neighbors put their trash/recycling bins on my property to be picked up.
John Kopecky February 12, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Pat, I'm smelling something fishy as well. The payback calculation is definitely "off." The trucks will need to be replaced in several years, as will the bins. Potentially this puts us in a worse financial spot than we are now.
Alex Vandehoff February 12, 2013 at 06:33 PM
The tree-lawn is a public right of way, and thus, not your property.
DLSJR February 12, 2013 at 09:01 PM
It's public property that maintenance and costs are the burden of the property owner. If it was truly public property, then why did the city make me pay to replace sidewalk sections and my driveway apron? Those are public too, right?
DLSJR February 12, 2013 at 09:04 PM
If one gets hurt on the sidewalk or tree lawn, do they try and sue the city or the property owner?
Lorna Jordan February 12, 2013 at 11:11 PM
I am extremely upset about the possible parking ban. Clearly the members of council can afford to live in houses that have access to driveways but that is not the case with many, many people citywide that live in doubles. It would be another reason to chase people out of the city.
Barbara Greene February 13, 2013 at 12:08 AM
Why parking bans for recycling? They don't have them for the trash pick up which is the same method. Where the bleep are people supposed to park? I'm sure all these council members live in big houses with huge driveways and never have to try parking on the street in high-density housing areas.
lakerockbay February 13, 2013 at 03:11 AM
I think your idea is a great solution! Another idea,have both containers placed on the residents driveway apron(if needed)allowing pick-up,this putting the burden on the resident to move.If the home has no apron for containers,put parking signs up stating no parking on tree lawn with the day and time of pick-up.This space should be small not taking away parking!
Lilly Pihl February 13, 2013 at 04:49 AM
is the city of Lakewood pretending that there isn't already a huge problem with lack of parking? To even suggest more parking bans leads me to think that maybe city hall is way out of touch with reality.
Barbara Greene February 13, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Here's an idea. Most streets have one-side-only parking: have everybody puts their trash and recycling cans on the other side. No cars in the way of automated pickup. People would have to put their addresses on their cans, but it seems like a logical solution.

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