The Sleepy Eye City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10, got a little raucous a few times. That's what garbage will do!

The Sleepy Eye City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10, got a little raucous a few times. That’s what a topic like where garbage cans can be put for pickup—street or alley—can do to a room packed with concerned citizens. In the end, garbage where you want it got the votes.

The issue was brought before the council a couple months back, when several citizens addressed the council about their displeasure that the garbage contractor was requiring that garbage cans be placed on the street, rather than in alleys as they’d always done before. At that meeting, the residents were told that if they contacted the contractor, River View Sanitation, arrangements could be made for pickup in the most convenient place for the resident. At that time the council did not take any action, tabling the issue.

Since that time, Mark Beito expressed his thoughts on the issue to the council during the open forum prior to the August council meeting. He also sent this paper his comments as a letter to the editor, which was published in the Aug. 22 Herald-Dispatch. His message was that the city picks the trash hauler, so the city should look out for the residents; reminding the council they have the authority to tell RVS to pick up garbage where residents want it picked up.

A petition asking the council to authorize a return to picking up garbage cans from alleys was presented to the city. City Manager Bob Elston said there were 238 valid signatures, representing 190 households. Elston said there are about 1,500 households in Sleepy Eye, which means 12.5% of households were represented on the petition. “A significant amount,” he said.

Elston suggested that a few people, representing those who wanted garbage pick up changed, could meet with the council and the contractor to determine a solution.

The residents at the council meeting did not accept that idea. “Do your job,” was the general message (and specific loud comment) directed at the council. The people spoke and asked the council to simply exercise their authority and tell RVS to pick up garbage like they used to — alleys or streets — which ever worked better for the resident.

A motion passed unanimously to have garbage picked up in Sleepy Eye in either the alley or street — like it was before.

While an updated ordinance will be on the council’s agenda in the coming months, the change in pick up routine will begin “soon” said Elston. He said the city would contact RVS and acknowledged they might need a little time to adjust their work.

See next week's Herald-Dispatch for the rest of the news on Tuesday's City Council meeting.