The city of Keokuk is standing by its trash collection system, even though it has received plenty of complaints in recent days.
It’s been nearly five years since the city purchased new garbage trucks equipped with large, mechanical arms that could be used to empty a 95-gallon container.
At the time, the city sent out a note to inform residents that the lids must be closed in order for the containers to be emptied. Subsequent reminders were included on the annual trash pick-up calendars from the city.
Mayor Tom Marion says the reminders did not stop people from putting their containers along the curbs or alleys with the lids propped open.
In response, the city says it implemented a policy, last February, saying the city would not empty a container if the lid was not closed.
The idea was to keep animals from getting into the trash and to keep the wind from blowing the trash around the neighborhood.
It appears the extra trash associated with the holiday season and the skipping of a collection day due to Christmas has led to more trash cans being tagged for having an open lid in the last few weeks.
This has prompted people to take to social media and the city hall telephone system to complain about how their garbage is now piling up because their container was barely open.
Despite the frequency of calls and online posts, just one person showed up for Thursday night’s city council meeting.
Chris Ryland told aldermen his lid was only about 1/2” open and that sanitation workers should be able to use their judgment and common sense in deciding whether to empty a container.
At-Large Alderman John Helenthal told Ryland that the city had to draw the line because if 5” was acceptable, someone would complain that it was not 5 ½”.
Helenthal says many containers would not be as full if people simply took the time and effort to recycle. Several other council members used the meeting to brainstorm ideas as to how more recycling could be encouraged.