GREENWOOD TWP- Piles and piles of bagged recyclables, household garbage, and scrap metal were left at the recycling canisters at the Greenwood Town Hall grounds over the Fourth of July …
GREENWOOD TWP- Piles and piles of bagged recyclables, household garbage, and scrap metal were left at the recycling canisters at the Greenwood Town Hall grounds over the Fourth of July holiday.
The garbage issue was front and center during the half hour or so of public input at the beginning of the meeting on Tuesday. This is not the first time the issue has been discussed. Earlier this year, the township had to deal with a large amount of scrap metal, including a very heavy piece, left at the site.
While many thanked the volunteers who worked to clean up the canister sites on multiple occasions, others asked the board to get the canisters moved off town hall grounds. They also questioned the idea of placing security cameras at the site to monitor usage, noting the cost and problems with enforcement. Others noted that with the new playground, the issue of broken glass by the canisters, which in the winter gets plowed into the grassy areas, was a safety issue.
“It is just disgusting that people would do that,” said Mary Richard, who witnessed the mess last week.
Steve Rodgers pointed out that having garbage littering the town hall grounds was a major safety hazard in case an air ambulance needed to land on the helipad.
“The canisters are an accident waiting to happen,” he said, noting that flying debris stirred up could damage the helicopter and possibly endanger lives.
The board discussed the issue at length, though they didn’t come to a final decision.
“Security cameras probably aren’t going to solve the problem,” said Chair Mike Ralston. An initial quote for a security camera system was around $4,000, he said. “Cameras are a deterrent but not a solution.”
Treasurer Pam Rodgers noted that monitoring the system would take additional time. Supervisor Byron Beihoffer added that the township would need to pass an ordinance, which would then need to be enforced by the county sheriff.
Supervisor Carmen DeLuca said that Ely had installed a camera system at their recycling site, and after a few violators were prosecuted, problems had decreased.
DeLuca said that most of the bags left at the canister site contained beer cans. He said he suspected that some of them may have come from businesses outside of Greenwood Township, since the Greenwood site is available 24/7. But bags left at the site also included household garbage, scrap metal, and other yard waste, which Greenwood officials and volunteers then had to bring to the Highway 77 Canister Site.
The township can ask St. Louis County to remove the recycling canisters, but whether or not they would get placed at the Highway 77 Canister Site was not certain.
DeLuca said he had been told there might not be enough room at the 77 site to house the canisters, and that they might be relocated to the Soudan site. The limited days and hours that the site is open was also a concern.
Others wondered why St. Louis County couldn’t just make sure they had an empty, or second, unit available over holiday weekends, when most of the problems are occurring.
Board members noted that often if people see a bag of recyclables on the ground by the canister, they assume the canister is full, but most of the time there is room to fit more recyclables in the unit.
The board decided to send a letter to St. Louis County asking what the options would be if the recycling was removed from the town hall, and also to ask that additional capacity be on hand for Labor Day weekend.
The request from the Recreation Committee to have a second well drilled to serve the pavilion and skating rink area has also drawn a lot of criticism from residents.
Beihoffer said he met with Dale Olson from Kolstad-Olson who gave an estimate of $7,464 for a well with everything below ground, along with a spigot that could be used year-round and would not freeze in the winter. The well would have connections for a regular garden type hose along with a larger connection for a hose that could be used for flooding the skating rink.
But others questioned the actual cost of the well, wondering if new electrical service would be needed, and what the long-term maintenance costs would be.
Ralston said the idea that the well was a “done deal,” as one resident stated in public input, was simply a rumor.
Others noted there were other ways to improve water delivery at the pavilion area without drilling a separate well.
“Obviously more information is needed,” said Ralston, who then asked to carry the issue over to next month’s agenda.
Election judge appointments
Clerk Sue Drobac’s decision to place long-time election judge Ruth DeLuca as an alternate drew a rebuke from the town board, after Ruth spoke during public input and asked why she was not on the judge list.
Drobac said the township had more interested judges than needed, and said this was also the case last year, and she had put another judge as an alternate.
A motion by Supervisor Larry Tahija to appoint the judges as listed on the agenda did not draw a second. A motion by Ralston to put Ruth back on the list as a judge, and to have the clerk decide which other name to place as an alternate, was approved 4-0 with Supervisor Carmen DeLuca (Ruth’s husband), abstaining.
Ralston noted that Ruth has been an election judge probably longer than anyone else on the list.
Drobac said the decision was based in part so that new judges can get experience.
“They all have to take the training,” said Drobac, “even the alternates.” But Drobac added they are trying to get some new people trained in as election judges, and simply taking the training is not enough to truly learn the job.
Drobac told the board that the clerk does have the authority to select the election judges.
But Ralston told her the judges also need to be approved by the board, and that the board didn’t approve of this list.
Fire Department Safety Officer Ed Borchardt said the department responded to several fire calls following big storms this past month, and in one case had trouble locating the residence because the fire number was obscured. Many fire numbers are either overgrown by brush or not facing perpendicular to the road. He said it is important that the numbers are visible in both directions.
The township will work to notify residents about the importance of having visible fire number signs, and ask anyone with damaged or worn out signs to ask for replacements. The township does charge a nominal fee for the signs to cover the cost of materials. Borchardt said it was preferable to have the numbers on both sides of the sign, and to have the numbers mounted so they are perpendicular to the roadway.
In other business the board:
Heard a statement from Rick Stoehr who is troubled by recent town board actions showing a pattern of acting against the township attorney’s advice. Stoehr also sent his concerns as a letter to the editor which is published in this week’s paper.
Ralston told the board that there was a lot of information going around regarding the Maus grievance. He said the township attorney has told board members not to discuss any information until the litigation is completed.
Heard from Clerk Drobac that a computer glitch that had caused issues with sharing information between office computers, related to a recent update by Microsoft, had been fixed.
Jet Galonski said the new playground set was being used and appreciated.
Heard thank you’s to the volunteers who had help decorate the float and fire truck for the Tower Fourth of July Parade, and also to those who participated during the parade, including Ralston and his grandchildren who rode on the township float. The float won the prize for Most Patriotic.
Ralston refused to answer a question from last month by John Bassing, who was requesting names of fire department members who had done interior firefighting during the Fortune Bay fire. Ralston said Bassing must refer the question to Fire Chief Fazio.
Awarded the quote for propane for the upcoming season to Ferrellgas for $1.189 per gallon. The township owns its tank. The township sent out four letters requesting quotes and only received the one reply.