New city council got one right

Minot’s new, trimmer city council made a good decision at a committee meeting this past Wednesday by “tapping the brakes” on a proposed ordinance.

Dan Ruby, owner of Circle Sanitation, a private garbage hauler, had asked council members not to force more of the city’s multi-family properties to use city garbage collection.

Ruby went into great detail as to how both his business and the city’s income stream would be affected by the proposed ordinance.

“We as private companies would be pushed out and no longer able to compete,” he said. “The concern is this is kind of encroaching into what we have been traditionally doing for many years.”

Ruby argued that property owners with complexes of more than three units should have a choice.

“This is removing the flexibility from them,” he said. “They would be denied the opportunity to use the dumpsters unless the city is going to get into the dumpster business.”

For the city’s part, Dan Jonasson, Minot public works director, said it is the private haulers who are competing with the city, to the tune of $250,000 per year.

The discussion left council members wondering if the city might be moving too fast.

It was Mayor Chuck Barney who suggested taking a step back.

“I think it would be prudent to tap the brakes on this – not kill it but tap the brakes a little bit,” Mayor Chuck Barney said.

Good call, Mr. Mayor.

New council member Josh Wolsky had added during the discussion that he was bothered that the policy conflicts with the original message from the city that people would not see a change in their service with the new automated garbage collection.

All the more reason to get on the brakes. Taxpayers should not be steamrolled in matters as basic and essential as garbage collection.

Regardless of what the council ultimately decides on the issue of private haulers, it was refreshing to see the new body not rush to judgment, to admit that a member of the public might be right.

If this is the beginning of a trend, we are liking it more than a little.