Junk pickup to end in FD, but will be replaced

New plan will free up nearly 2,000 hours of city workers’ time, Fierke says

The days of piling junk on the curb for the annual spring cleanup day collections have come to an end in Fort Dodge.

The city Public Works Department will not conduct those curbside pickups this year.

Instead, residents will be able to bring junk to the landfill on the last two Saturdays of April and the first two Saturdays in May.

City Manager David Fierke said the new plan, which he introduced Monday, will free up city workers to do more street maintenance while at the same time allowing residents to get rid of even more junk.

“These spring cleanups consume a lot of staff time,” he said. “That’s kind of the impetus of this discussion. It really does impact our effectiveness.”

He said the curbside junk collection requires about 1,824 hours of work each year. He said in those 1,824 hours city crews could finish nine miles of crack sealing on streets or replace nine large panels in concrete streets.

Mayor Matt Bemrich and councilmembers Kim Alstott, Dave Flattery, Jeff Halter, Dean Hill, Terry Moehnke and Lydia Schuur said they were in favor of the new spring cleanup system.

Councilman Neven Conrad said he’s opposed to it.

He said he believes a “drastic number of people” will hoard junk on their property because they will not be able to get it to the landfill.

He said he conducted an informal poll on his Facebook page Monday and found that 80 percent of the people who replied were opposed to the new system.

The spring cleanup collections were held on the last two Wednesdays of April and the first two Wednesdays in May.

This year, residents will be able to take their junk to the regional landfill on April 21, April 28, May 5 and May 12.

Material can be taken to the landfill on South 22nd Street between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. on those days.

Fierke said that, additionally, the household hazardous waste site and Franks Auto & Truck Salvage will be open on those days. That, he said, will enable residents to get rid of liquids like paints and oil, and major appliances which were not picked up by city crews.

“This is a much more inclusive option,” he said.

He added that more residents will be able to participate in the new system. City crews only picked up junk at single-family homes, but all residents will be able to take material to the landfill on the designated days.

The new system will require a reduced commitment from city workers. Fierke said six employees, two loaders and two dump trucks will be required on each day.