Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Are changes at city of Janesville's demolition landfill reasonable?

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Greg Peck
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Maybe you saw our April 14 story about changes at the city of Janesville's demolition landfill and compost site, or the related Thumbs Up editorial in Monday's Gazette.

Not everyone will like the changes, including new fees for dumping tree branches, brush, unpainted and untreated wood and concrete in the demolition landfill. Cost per cubic yard is $5.50 for residents and $7 for nonresidents.

As one reader pointed out in Sound Off a week ago, the new fees come just in time for disposal of all those dying ash trees around the city. Just think of the revenue potential. Yes, but also think of landfill space as finite. The fees, I would argue, are reasonable given the city's costs to operate the landfill and considering users are filling the space. Besides that, the city reduced staffing costs because now it's using seasonal help instead of paying full-timers overtime.

Here's a bonus. The demolition landfill and compost site—the latter available only to city residents—is more user friendly this season because it's open more hours. It's open until 7 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Last year, evening hours were just two days a week; the other weekdays, it closed at 3 p.m. That didn't help people who work regular weekday hours.

I made a trip to the compost site Tuesday morning, April 1, and was surprised to see so many vehicles. I almost had to wait for someone to leave so I could back into a spot to dump my load.

Here's another thing residents who dislike the new fee should keep in mind. The city will continue its usual spring and fall curbside yard waste pick-ups. Residents can bag yard waste and bundle brush and put it at the curb by 7 a.m. on their regular trash pick-up days the week of May 5-9. Doing so will save you the time to make a run to the landfill—and depending on what you need to dispose of, you might escape that new demolition landfill fee.

For the curbside collection, the city prefers that residents use paper biodegradable bags. If you use plastic bags, leave them untied/unsecured. Bags or containers should weigh less than 50 pounds. Brush should be bundled no larger than 4 feet in length, 12 inches in diameter, and no heavier than 50 pounds. Size limits are necessary so bundles fit in collection trucks. Place the bags and/or bundles at the curb, a few feet from your trash cart.

For more details, check out the city's website.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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