Lansing residents complain about new trash pickup program

2013-11-19T22:15:00Z 2013-11-19T23:56:07Z Lansing residents complain about new trash pickup programGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 19, 2013 10:15 pm  • 

LANSING | About 75 people, many of whom are having trouble adapting to the village’s new trash pickup procedures, appeared Tuesday before the Village Board to complain.

Homewood Disposal Co. handles trash pickup for Lansing homeowners, with a new system by which residents were issued three containers (for trash, recyclables and yard waste) to be used beginning this month.

Village Administrator J. Wynsma told trustees that many residents were pleased with the new system, and he read a lengthy statement that cited ways in which the new system is an improvement on the old.

Yet those who packed the Village Board meeting to discuss the issue — several of whom mocked Wynsma to the point that Village President Norm Abbott had to publicly call for quiet — made it clear they don’t think much of the new system.

Ernestine Russell said she does not want to be bothered with three separate containers, particularly because, she said, she has no intention of setting aside recyclable items.

“Why can’t I just have two cans,” she said. “Why can’t you give me a choice?”

John Galotta said he thinks requiring people to tote separate 64-gallon and 96-gallon containers to a spot on their property for trash pickup is a burden for older residents.

Noting that village officials have said the change costs merely $4.75 more per homeowner per month, Galotta said that means Lansing is raising an extra $513,000 per year for trash pickup.

Roger Yochem, who serves on the Thornton Fractional Township High School District board, said he sees the extra cost as a financial burden to some people.

“I’m blessed, I can handle it” financially, Yochem told the Village Board. “Not everybody can. Did you take that into account?”

The change in trash pickup procedures — which was meant to get all residents using the same type of trash containers rather than differing-sized cans — was approved by the Village Board during a special meeting in late October. The change took effect the first full week of November. Trustees approved it without opposition.

Anthony Ahrens said he was disappointed that none of the trustees was willing to vote against the change.

“For you to pass this with none of you willing to vote ‘no,’ that is showing a lack of respect for the village,” he said. “It’s sad.”

Village officials on Tuesday distributed copies of the village newsletter devoted exclusively to the new trash pickup program

Wynsma said he understands “not everyone shares in our excitement” about the new trash pickup procedures. But he continued to defend them as similar to the way trash is picked up in surrounding communities.

“There are strong feelings about this both ways,” Wynsma said. “I wish there was a program that pleases everybody. But that is not the real world.”

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