Trenton City Council addresses bulky trash items with owner of Rapid Removal at Monday meeting

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Rapid Removal Owner Jim Watje and his attorney, Brad Grill, met with the Trenton City Council Monday night in an effort to reach an agreement regarding trash service complaints that the council has received.

At the last meeting, the council requested the city attorney write a letter to Rapid Removal regarding specific concerns like refusing to pick up bulky items, trash not being picked up, and trucks that were leaking a liquid in various places of the city while the company was to provide leak-proof trucks Watje, according to the letter, was invited to attend the council meeting.

Watje explained the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Rapid Removal to follow health and safety concerns for the workers. He shared numerous pictures taken by Rapid Removal staff showing large amounts of trash strewn along the curbside and not bagged or placed in trash containers. He described health concerns in physically trying to pick up such assorted trash. Watje reported Rapid Removal, because of the pandemic, was not picking up bulky items placed at the curbside.

No announcement was made to the media that the company was temporarily not picking up bulky items. In response to charging people who take bulky items out to the Rapid Removal site, Watje said the staff doesn’t know if they are actually a Trenton resident or live elsewhere. The council recommended Rapid Removal request proof of residency via a driver’s license or utility bill which includes the trash service fee. Watje agreed with that so the company will accept for free, a bulky item weighing no more than 150 pounds when it’s taken to Rapid Removal and proof of Trenton residency is provided.

As for the trucks leaking a liquid, Watje explained water often gets into the trash and it’s basically impossible to have a leak-proof truck. He did admit, upon being questioned, that some of the drain plugs were loose – now they’re checked every day.

The city council adopted an ordinance accepting a grant from the Highways and Transportation Company for operation and maintenance of the Trenton airport. The $20,000 grant is part of the Federal CARES Act funding awarded to the state.

Urton said the money can be spent on relocating utilities for the new hangar; paying for utility costs and to buy fuel for re-sale at the airport.

The council authorized Police Chief Rex Ross to pursue the purchase of a 2020 all-wheel-drive police car. It would replace one with 109,000 miles. Ross said the department has budgeted $26,274, divided over three years, to pay for the cost.

Approval was given for the purchase of fencing to surround the fire training center. Submitting the low bid of $26,250 was Challenger Fence. Chief Brandon Gibler said it’ll be a chain-link fence with strands of barb wire at the top. There will be three drive-through gates. Gibler also reported the white Trenton fire truck is back in service after repairs were made, including a pump, that cost 15,922.

After hearing from Bill Miller regarding a city lien at 1415 Lulu Street, where a house has been torn down, the council referred it to the administrative committee to decide what amount of the $5,000 lien it could forgive and to perhaps establish a policy moving forward. The council also met in executive session last night for a legal matter.