Houghton — Houghton has a new garbage collection system.
Houghton City Council has unanimously approved a new five-year deal with Waste Management for waste and single-stream recycling. Waste Management was the sole bidder for the contract.
Horton will move away from the current bag system. Instead, residential units will be provided with separate 64-gallon carts for waste and recycling. The original draft called for 96 gallons before being cut, after further negotiations between the city and waste management.
Waste Management will continue to accept existing recycling carts, said Senior Account Executive Mark Harrick.
In the new system carts are picked up and emptied mechanically. An early system used by Marquette lifted the cart overhead and tipped it over the top of the track. In Houghton’s system, an arm lifts the bin and empties it into the bottom of the truck, minimizing parts lost in the wind.
Waste management is pushing automated cart systems with all new agreements across the country, Harrick said. According to Harrick, the new system reduces the risk of employee injury and allows them to work longer.
“If I can operate a joystick and pick up trash, I can work until I am 65.” He said.
The new system will go into effect on June 1st. Mayor Eric Waara said the dates were chosen so that college students would leave town during the transition period.
“Students are back and the culture is already established over the summer, and that’s just part of what we do.” He said.
Houghton pays waste management $18.25 per month per housing unit. Fees will be adjusted annually by at least 5%, or up to 7% if the Consumer Price Index is higher.
The city will have to change its waste ordinance to determine how that cost is passed on to residents.
“I doubt we’ll find the magic bullet to make it as fair as the current pay-as-you-go system, but our system is kind of a dinosaur.” you said forever “…if there are ways it can be done, we will investigate them and try to find ways to make them fairer.”
With a tiered system, there is a risk that people will find ways to abuse the system and pay more than they should, Waara said.
Alderman Craig Waddell also called for a public information session to be held in six months to inform the public about the changes and answer questions.
Among other measures, the Council will:
• Approved an engineering contract with UP Engineers & Architects for the Lakeshore Drive corridor renovation. Houghton will pay UPEA $194,000 for preliminary design, final design, tendering, negotiation and engineering work during construction.
• I heard from Waara that Houghton was included in a recent Architectural Digest list of America’s Most Beautiful Small Towns. Houghton is eighth. Holland is the only other Michigan town to rank 55th.
• I heard from Waara that the planning commission will hold a second open house on the master plan on Tuesday from 5-7 pm in the city centre.
• Since the last meeting from Chief of Police John Donnelly, the department has received 87 calls and has responded to 1 felony arrest, 6 civil violations, 4 municipal ticket issuances and 8 accidents. , responded to 15 health and safety calls.
• approved a series of change orders and engineering contract modifications related to the extension of the construction contract for the College Avenue project by the Michigan Department of Transportation; Two-way traffic is expected to resume on College Avenue by early November. Waara said construction will resume in the Franklin Square area in early May and will last about five to six weeks.
The project order change showed a savings of $45,560.72 in work to date. An amendment to the scope of engineering services added $18,800 to the water improvement contract and $25,800 to the sewer. Funding comes from a contingency fund, he said, Mr Waara.
The Council also approved payments to MDOT and UPEA of $193,647.08 for improvements to the water supply system and $105,416.70 for improvements to the College Avenue Project’s sewage system.