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Thursday, July 18, 2019 12:06 am

Leaves and grass

 Yard waste disposal costs would more than double under a deal between the city of Springfield and Evans Cartage, which holds a contract to find a final resting place for yard waste.

The city council next week is scheduled to vote on a new contract for Evans, which makes mulch from waste and spreads it on farmland. Under the contract that would retroactively take effect on July 1 and expire next March, the city would pay $720,000 for disposal. Under the previous deal, the city paid $331,000 for a full year of waste disposal.

Nate Bottom, acting public works director, told the city council Tuesday that the city got just one bid, from Evans, for the nine-month contract. There is, he says, just one licensed disposal facility the city could use. “Going forward next year, we’ll start a lot earlier,” Bottom told aldermen. “I believe if we put it out a lot earlier and give people a chance to get the proper permits, we could have more bidders for future programs.”

Rex Evans, business owner, said that the city’s free yard waste program has been more successful imagined. Rather than wait two weeks for pickup, Evans said, residents are hauling in waste, and the volume of ash trees brought in by city crews combatting the spread of the emerald ash borer also is a factor. “My guys say they’ve never seen so much material come in,” Evans said. “It’s just a constant flow.”

Evans said that anyone who believes that he’s gouging can think what they want. The city’s free pickup program, which was billed as adding $243,000 to public costs when the council passed the measure in April, has inundated him with grass clippings, brush and other waste. Part of the cost is covered by monthly charges on City Water, Light and Power bills, which increased from $3 to $4.50 this month. Beforehand, residents had to purchase $2 stickers to get rid of yard waste outside the city’s free pickup dates in the spring and fall. “You provide something for free, they’re going to take advantage of it,” Evans said.

Ward 7 Ald. Joe McMenamin says he’s noticed that debris and mulch piles have mushroomed in recent months at Evans’ plant on J. David Jones Parkway. “I’ve never seen a mountain so tall and occupying so much of your acreage as what you have this year,” the alderman told Evans during Tuesday’s meeting.

Mayor Jim Langfelder said that he expected increased volumes and disposal costs, but not to the extent the city has seen.

“Nobody expected it,” the mayor said.

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