JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Jefferson City Council approved an agreement with Troesser Lawn Care to aid the city with its yard waste drop-off site temporarily.
The agreement will begin immediately, runs through Jan. 7, and is estimated to cost the city $35,000.
The agreement will allow the city to extend the site's hours of operation. The site will now be open for eight hours on Saturdays and Wednesdays and for four hours on Sundays. The extended hours will begin on Saturday, Nov. 25 and the Wednesday operations will begin on Nov. 29.
The agreement comes after the site was struggling with staffing shortages. According to Jefferson City Public Works Director Matt Morasch, the heavy traffic was in part caused by residents arriving at the facility before it opened.
"One of the things that happened...we had people arrive before the facility gate was open at 8 and you know, started queuing up and in the street, which caused a problem," Morasch said.
According to a Jefferson City yard waste collection map, during the weekend of Nov. 18 and 19, 485 people dropped their waste at the site. The weekend prior, 360 people used the service, while the weekend before that, 228 people used it.
The growing number of residents is what led the Public Works Department to ask the city to amend the agreement in order to provide people with the additional day and hours to drop off their waste. This, along with the additional staff should help alleviate congestion, according to Morasch.
During Monday night's meeting, some council members voiced concern over spending an additional $10,000 on the agreement in order to allow the city's staff to work with Troesser. Some suggested the staff work the extra hours, due to the fact that the site is temporary.
"I think if you tell folks hey we're getting ready to spend 35 grand of your tax dollars on a site that's open a month to give you a daytime option, they'd be like oh okay never mind don't do that we'll wait for the permanent site in 2024," Ward 2 Councilman Aaron Mealy said.
However, Morasch stated that the additional day and hours wouldn't allow the department's staff to complete other jobs around the city. Morasch said this is especially important, as winter months are approaching.
"Then these folks can't be out fixing you know, the streets and the stormwater pipes and the signs," Morasch said.
Some council members also said they believe the congestion in the area is a public safety hazard, and would become problematic for first responders trying to drive to a scene. Cole County Chief of Emergency Medical Services Eric Hoy said this has not been an issue so far, although things could change.
"I don't foresee any issues," Hoy said. "I mean you know, we can just work around it... obviously there are other routes through the area you know I think if it was that big of an issue you know we work well with the folks in the city."
Originally, the site was only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon.
The site will be closed Dec. 24 for Christmas Eve, and Sunday, Dec. 31 during New Year's Eve.
According to the City Council memo, the hours and days of operations may be affected by weather events when/if they occur.
The city hopes to have the permanent site available by the spring, according to Morasch.