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Garbage collection needs refinement

Similar to other parts of the state, Ely is looking at modifying its garbage collection system. A meeting for the public to voice concerns will be held by the city council on the matter in July.
Currently the council has a contract for all residential and commercial customers through G Men Environmental Services. They are the only company allowed to haul within the city limits.
We’ve heard some of the concerns, including the exclusivity clause which doesn’t work for some commercial customers who may need their trash hauled more often than once or twice a week. With summer upon us, we’d like to see those issues addressed just to keep the smell down to a bare minimum.
While people can haul their own garbage, for seniors and those on limited income the system doesn’t work very well. There is a monthly charge whether the garbage is hauled or not and saving up garbage, especially in the summer, is not a workable solution.
We don’t want to have people who can’t afford the program to just throw their trash in their garage, especially if you happen to live next door.
In Sauk Rapids the city negotiated a provision to help seniors by having the pickup crews wheel their carts to the curb.
Ideas like that would help out people who aren’t thrilled with the idea of wrestling a cart to the curb in the snow and ice.
And while we’re talking about garbage, could we do something about recycling?
The recycling center in Ely should be open for the convenience of residents but it’s not. For those who work a regular 8-5 schedule, it’s darn near impossible to get there.
Having curbside recycling pickup even once a month would be a great idea. Offer it twice a month and the idea gets even better.
Cardboard has been a problem forever and if you want to get rid of it now, you can either stuff it in your garbage cart or drive out to the Northwoods Transfer Station down Hwy. 21.
We’d like to see a plan to bring back cardboard recycling to a location in town. We’ve heard the complaints from city hall but for those of us who live here and for the businesses who pay the higher tax rates, this is a problem that needs a solution.
Garbage may not be the sexiest topic up for discussion but it is something we all have to deal with, especially if your neighbor illegally burns their garbage and you get to smell it.
Our hope is the city will look for creative solutions and work with residential and commercial customers to find ways to make garbage collection as attractive as can be.

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