Collection site limits hours to increase security


HUNTINGBURG — The city’s limb and yard waste collection site on First Street will be open daily, but not around the clock.

The Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety had a lengthy discussion Thursday morning about when the site should be open.

The site will continue to be in its same location, which is near the former street department site. The department has moved to a new building on West 19th Street.

Since department workers won’t be near the site anymore, the area needs to be more secure, Mayor Denny Spinner explained. So far, the Huntingburg Common Council has purchased a gate and concrete blocks to enclose the site, as well as security cameras. The equipment will soon be installed, Stamm said. The council also set violation fees for abusing the site’s use.

The law, which the council passed Tuesday, stipulates that the site is for residential usage only, and sets fines for violating the rules. The fines are $100 for an initial violation and a $250 fine for a second violation. Violators could also be liable for the cost of labor, equipment and disposal charges.

Street Superintendent Jason Stamm suggested that the hours of use should include a couple of days that have evening hours and hours on Saturday. The gate can be set remotely to unlock and lock at certain times, he said.

He discouraged having the site open 24 hours a day. “We’re trying to cut out illegal dumping,” Stamm said, “which tends to happen at the nighttime.” He mentioned that just last week someone left what looked like material that came from a kitchen, which was left sometime between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., he said. Also, Stamm said, there are non-city residents and companies that leave limbs at the site, which is not the intended use. Security cameras will catch such abuses, he said.

Stamm estimated it costs the department about $50,000 a year to haul off the waste.

Board member Paul Neukam wanted the site to be open as much as possible, especially since residents are now used to having access to it all the time.

“By limiting the hours, you only hurt those who work during the day,” Neukam said.

Spinner said the hours and rules will be posted at the site. He believes people will get used to having set hours. “There will be a learning curve,” he said.

Councilman Kerry Blessinger, who was sitting in the audience, agreed that the site should not be open at night.

“You can keep it open until 4:30 in the evening. If you can’t get there then, then there’s Saturday (hours),” he said. “If you want to get there, you will get there when it’s open.” He said eliminating night hours would discourage illegal dumpings.
“That’s the purpose of the cameras,” Neukam responded. “I don’t see the disadvantage of keeping it open until 7 or 8.”

Councilman Glen Kissling, who is an assistant fire chief, said from the audience that the burn ordinance may have to be strengthened. Fire Chief Scott Patberg agreed.

“If you limit it, people are going to let limbs pile up or they will burn it,” Patberg said.

The street department picks up limbs that are bundled and placed at the curb the first and third Mondays of the month, Stamm said. People need to call 812-683-4122 to alert the department of the pickup.

Another Monday could be added to that list, he said.

Board member Roger Cox, who did not realize limb pickups were available, that the public should be reminded that the service is available.

The board set the collection site’s hours at 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, including the weekends. Stamm and the city attorney will work on other rules for using the site. Those will be presented to the public works board at a later date.

The board also:

• Extended conditional job offers to Cody Shimm and John Preston, to fill two open police officer positions. Shimm has already been through law academy training and has worked for Martin County Sheriff’s Department. Preston has been through law enforcement training in Kentucky. Police Chief Art Parks is checking to see if Preston needs any additional training to be an officer in Indiana.

• Learned from Patberg that the new fire truck won’t be ready in September, because the company has been swamped with orders. Patberg hopes to get the truck by the end of the year.

• Thanked Safety Director Don Foerster for his 24 years of service to the city. Foerster will retire July 19.

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