The Board of Public Works and Facilities Committee meeting on Tuesday began with an address to the board from member of the public Mike Thurmer. He gave his concerns about the permit fee on contractors for the pick up and dumping of grass, leaves, and other natural material at the city dump, which was on the agenda for the meeting. Contractors are required to pay an annual $500 permit to use the city dump, however this includes citizens who mow their neighbors’ lawns and not just professional businesses. Mike is retired and does the grass trimming for community members who are unable to take care of their yards, such as the elderly and disabled who are often on fixed incomes. “They’re tax-paying citizens and shouldn’t have to pay more,” Mike said, pointing out that he has to offset the costs. He doesn’t make a lot of money doing it, and can’t pay a $500 fee to haul a few bags of grass trimmings from his neighborhood to the dump.
The Board discussed the reasoning behind the permit fee, and found that the city had saved over $20,000 in 2021 compared to 2020, a saving of 40%. The Board also discussed how grass trimmers are not the only contractors who use the dump, questioning whether the expenses were more from tree cutter contractors over grass trimmer contractors. Last year only two contractors paid the permit fee to use the dump.
Waupun Pioneer reached out to Alderman Rohn W. Bishop, who is running unopposed for Mayor. “This $500 fee only hurts the elderly people who need help with their lawns, we have to come up with a better solution,” Alderman Bishop stated, “Alderman Pete [Kaczmarski] and I are working on a couple solutions including a small user fee or a different site for grass clippings disposal.”
The question of dump enforcement was brought up several times at the board meeting. Since the dump is currently on the honor system for city residents, there are many loopholes to ignore the regulations on who is able to dump there. Several potential solutions were presented by the board, including closing the dump during non-business hours and separating commercial versus residential dumping. A recommendation was also made to have a penalty for those who try to dump as non-residents, first a warning leading up to potential fines. The discussion was tabled for a later meeting in the near future.