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Onalaska awards garbage contract

pineywoods logoONALASKA – Piney Woods Sanitation was awarded a three-year exclusive contract to collect garbage inside the city of Onalaska last week, after the city council met with representatives of several trash collection firms to go over their bid proposals.

The action last week came after the Onalaska council learned at their March meeting that several collection firms were interested in the city’s garbage contract. At that time, the council authorized Mayor Roy Newport to seek bids for the service.

Bids were received from Piney Woods Sanitation, current contractor Pro-Star Waste and Santek Environmental Services of Texas. A committee consisting of two council members and City Environmental Officer Lee Parish met with all bidders and evaluated the offers.

The mayor stated he wanted the best service and costs for the citizens. During last week’s meeting, each company was represented and spoke to council for two minutes before the report was presented.

Parish spoke for the committee stating they considered the size of the garbage trucks in regards to complaints from subdivisions about damaged roads. Also considered was customer service, and Parish said all bidders indicated they would have a local office if granted the contract. The cost to the customers per month for the same weekly pickup they now enjoy also was an item considered by the committee.

In making their selection, Parish said they considered the side loader offered by one service, which is lighter in total weight, and the offer to pickup heavy trash items if placed by the regular trash can, a service previously not offered.

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The committee recommended the council offer the three-year contract to Piney Woods Sanitation and the council approved Ordinance 362, granting the exclusive three-year contract to the Huntington-based company. Changeover will occur some time in May, the official end of the current contract. Both companies have said it should be seamless and not cause any interruption in service to the customers.

In other discussion, a business advisory committee appointed by the mayor returned a report noting the largest bass fishing group in Texas has an opening for a tournament in 2017. Should the city and the business community decide to hold a Texas Team Trails event, it would require a $15,000 upfront payment by May 1, 2017.

There would also need to be 10 rooms for officials, critical workers and probably other considerations regarding the event.

Council took the report under advisement and will conduct a meeting in the next few weeks to decide whether to tell the group that they will accept the offer. It was not on the agenda as an action item and the time too short for a meeting Friday, as discussed during the meeting by council.

Police Chief Ron Gilbert reported the department responded to 1,216 non-calls and 151 dispatched calls, making six felony arrests and 39 misdemeanor arrests. Traffic patrol issued 219 citations and 48 warnings, and the department assisted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office six times, driving 7,845 miles and opening 56 new cases, three of which were narcotic or DWI related. The reserves worked a total of 10 days, logging 63 hours.

Fire Chief Jay Stutts reported that 32 of the 65 calls made in March were medical in nature and there were 10 structure fires, two grass fires, five motor vehicle accidents, one hazardous materials event, four lake rescues, three setups of helicopter landing zones, seven assists and one mutual aid call to help anther fire department.

Stutts reminded all that the annual barbecue and auction will start Wednesday, April 27, culminating with the auction on Saturday, April 30, with many great opportunities to purchase items and help the fire department.

Building inspector and code enforcer Lee Parish reported 11 permits issued and 14 inspections were made during March. There were two code violations and they were sent letters for corrective action. There were no suspicious fires during the month.

Newport reported the dog fence and signage at the city park is completed and being used, and noted the water and electric are in place for both the pavilion and the dog park. Lights for the flagpole will be installed next. The landscaping was put on hold while Mother Nature watered the park Tuesday and Wednesday. The pavilion is booked every weekend through early June with both public and private events. Depending on the growing season, they plan to have some homegrown vegetables and perhaps fruit during the late spring and early summer.

The Onalaska Library Board reported that Paige Ruiz was named as vice chair and they are working to separate the procedures from the policies. Policies need to have council approval and procedures can be changed to fit the situation with just notification to the mayor and council, but no vote is required. Library usage for March showed 23 new patrons and 149 new books cataloged. There were 877 users circulating 867 books and 109 used the computers. There was a total income of $496.

Council accepted the resignation of Officer Danny Winkler and appointed Christopher Lima to a position as a full-time officer with the normal probation period. Lima has extensive training and experience as an officer.

The consent agenda consisting of minutes, vouchers and unaudited financial statements were approved.