Jefferson City Officials Certify Petition; Not In Time For Ballot

6 years 9 months 3 weeks ago August 30, 2010 Aug 30, 2010 Monday, August 30 2010 Monday, August 30, 2010 11:01:01 AM CDT in News
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JEFFERSON CITY - When Jefferson City residents head to the polls in November, they won't be able to vote on changes to their mandatory trash and recycling program.

City officials certified a petition this week asking to change parts of their mandatory trash and recycling program, but the city said it didn’t make it through the system in time for the November ballot.

For the past year, Jefferson City resident Ray Walker has fought to appeal the mandatory trash and recycling program.

“We’ve been trying to work with city council and council members to get this situation resolved and actually the petition itself was something of the last resort,” Walker said. “We didn’t start to circulate the petition until we were sure they weren’t going to do anything.”

Walker reminds everyone the committee is not against the trash and recycling program, just the part that says it’s mandatory.

“We didn’t feel it was fair to dump a huge expense, the same expense across the board, everybody pay the same rate for trash service when not everybody used as much of the service as others,” Walker said.

With more than 900 signatures, the committee wanting to appeal the program turned the petition in August 16.The city says the City Clerk’s Office examined all the signatures on the petition within five days of receiving them, but the petition still didn’t make the deadline to be placed on the November ballot.

“The ballot needs to be certified by a particular date and when the petition was received the city clerk had 20 days to certify the signatures and she did that in five,” acting director of community development Charlie Lansford said. “However once the signatures are certified they must go to the city council for action and it must be done through a city ordinance. City ordinances take two city council meetings and to make it by the deadline of the ballot two council meetings would have thrown it off.”

Now, Walker’s frustrations grow after this latest news.

“I think the issue is they did not want to see it succeed and they do not want this to succeed at the ballot,” Walker said. “We’re trying to correct a mess that the city council made and they don’t like it; it’s apparent. Actions speak so much louder than words. We’ve been delayed before.”

The next time the petition has a chance to go onto the ballot is in February.

“We’ll have to wait and see. They have up to 60 days and I’m sure they’re going to be encouraged to take everyday of 60 days in order to come up with which ballot it shall come up on,” Walker said. “It won’t be on November’s but it will have to be on one within a year.”

Lansford said not all residents are dissatisfied with the program.

“More than half the people in Jefferson City, in a recent survey that were polled, like this system that is here now,” Lansford said. “They think it’s easy, it’s efficient, it takes care of the environment, minimizes burning, rodent control, it’s just a real positive for a community. With the half of people polled I think they will speak when the time comes.”

If the petition does go through, Lansford said there would be consequences to face.

“It would probably destroy the curbside recycling program which would essentially kill what we have now; it’s easy and simple and most cities have it,” Lansford said.

Lansford said they would then look at several different options.

"We would either have to go without a contract and what other prices are out there by companies that could come in and charge,” Lansford said. “We’d have to change some ordinances around to provide more than one company to do this. The other thing would be we may take on the same rate as the county which would be a significant increase. I would go from 15 dollars a month to 25 dollars a month.”

The citywide single stream program has been in place for a year and a half, and now only time will tell if it will continue.

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