Garbage issue brings trash talk in LJ

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By Mary Barczak

 A new routine has caused quite a stink for Lebanon Junction residents.

At the council’s meeting three weeks ago, Mayor Butch Sweat told the council that he had received some phone calls concerning garbage pickup.

City Clerk Susan Crady said Waste Management, which services the city’s trash, changed their route and hours, but did not notify its customers.

“They changed their routes around for safety reasons,” she said.

Crady said collection will still occur on Wednesday mornings, but just earlier so they are urging people to put out their trash the night before.

The city ordinance states trash must be in a can with a lid. It can be put out 24 hours before pickup and must be removed from the road within 24 hours of collection.

“People were caught off guard,” she said.

Crady said letters are being sent out to customers to notify them of the change.

Other items discussed at the meeting:

Lebanon Junction police department chief Donnie Tinnell told the council that he would like to charge people who are not from the county $25 to obtain a copy of their report instead of $8. He said the majority of the places that his officers take reports are at the truck stop and I-65,  a lot times for people not from the area. “This shouldn’t be benefitting people who are not supporting the city with taxes and fees,” he said. “I’ve checked with other cities and that’s a fair price.” The council voted in favor of the change. Lebanon Junction fire department chief Mark Shumaker said he also plans to raise his fee for reports to the same price.

Tinnell said his department will be working on giving warnings to properties with high grass and strewn trash.“We’re going to get pretty strong about it,” he said.

The police chief asked the council to consider the purchase of a new police car for $14,000. The council voted in favor of the request and agreed to move $14,000 from the occupational fund to the general fund. In turn they also agreed to declare the old police car as surplus and make the lowest amount able to be bid on it $600.

Councilmember Allie Phillips asked the mayor if the city was still taking donations for a second arch to be placed in the cemetery and he said they are.

The council tossed around the idea of possibly raising the rent for the community center. Phillips did not agree with the idea saying a lot of people use the venue. The current fee is $50 a day.

Shumaker told the council he had caught up on his billing and promised to have the reports about billable runs to Crady within three days. He also showed them the new run sheet which keeps track of the runs and units each day. Councilmembers asked why people were not cited for certain fires such as burning brush and trash, which Shumaker said pollutes the air quality. He said there is not currently an ordinance in place that allows his department to fine the citizens. However, Shumaker said that when he enters these incidents into the FEMA system then the EPA also receives a copy. Sweat said he thinks a lot of people are not aware of what you can and cannot burn legally and he thinks the chief is handling the situation     well.

The next city council meeting will be August 5 at city hall. The public is invited to attend.