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Crookston not cleaning up on trash collection, garbage bag sales

Crookston officials say the city is losing money on its garbage pick-up service and residents could likely lose a citywide cleanup week because of it.

Crookston officials say the city is losing money on its garbage pick-up service and residents could likely lose a citywide cleanup week because of it.

"We have two a year, the last full week of April and of October," said Pat Kelly, public works director. "Both are relatively well used."

The amount of garbage hauled to the Polk County Transfer Station from Crookston has gone down every year since 2003. City clerk/treasurer Betty Arvidson said the city is also losing revenue from the sale of garbage bags used for curbside pick-up.

"Garbage is part of the city's general fund, and projections for this year and next is that revenue will not cover expenses," Arvidson said.

The deficit projection for 2010 is more than $17,000, Arvidson said, leaving the city's sanitation committee and eventually the city council with three options to consider:

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- Leave things as they are and absorb the loss.

- Raise the collection rate for residential collection by $1, from $5 to $6, keeping the rate charged to senior citizens at $3.50. Arvidson said that could turn the projected deficit into a near $6,000 surplus.

- Get rid of one cleanup week.

Kelly said the $21,000 cost of one cleanup week is about what it costs to pick up garbage for one week. Kelly said he could go either way on keeping or losing the week.

"It's highly unusual to have two cleanup days a year," Kelly said. "If the council looks at holding rates, I think they'll look at eliminating the fall cleanup week."

"I don't like to see rates and taxes go up," Arvidson said. "From the numbers side, we certainly could cut back to one clean-up week."

Kelly said City Administrator Aaron Parrish was in the Twin Cities on Thursday to meet with the League of Minnesota committee. When he returns, a date will be set for the Sanitation Committee to discuss the options.

Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to jjohnson2@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: POLK COUNTY
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