Cherokee's City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved the third and final reading of a revised City Recycling Ordinance that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2012, and also approved a two-year extension of City Administrator Don Eikmeier's contract, including annual performance reviews.
For the past several months, the City has been reviewing its recycling policies with Sanitary Services and the Cherokee County Solid Waste (Landfill) Commission, and has approved first and second readings of the proposed revised ordinance.
Although there are several word changes in the proposed amendment, the two basic changes include making it mandatory for all Cherokee residents to recycle, and allowing residents to place recyclable goods for pick-up in any type of container, provided that it is clearly marked for recyclables only and when filled weighs no more than 50 pounds.
Currently, residents have been encouraged to recycle (many don't) and use blue plastic bags available at no charge at City Hall. The City has also pondered using hard plastic tubs as other cities do, but the cost of 1,900 tubs would total $17,100. The Solid Waste Commission would contribute $7,000 to that total because that is the cost of the plastic bags now in use. However, the residents would then have to be billed one $6 charge at the onset to cover the additional cost of the tub, or the City must find another source of revenue to pay for them.
According to Sanitary services, the volume of recycling goods has decreased and flattened out the past few years. By making recycling mandatory in Cherokee and by increasing the choices citizens have in what containers they prefer to use, it is hoped residents will increase their efforts to recycle.
Fines can be issued for failing to properly recycle once the new Ordinance takes effect.
"We're basically putting more teeth into the Ordinance to encourage recycling," explained City Administrator Don Eikmeier, who previously reported that public feedback on the recycling measure has been positive.
(See accompanying City Recycling story on this page).
Regarding City Administrator Don Eikmeier's renewed contract highly recommended by Mayor Mark Murphy, his annual salary of $95,000 will remain the same and the Council will review Eikmeier's performance on an annual basis.
"There's no way I could be Mayor without Don," said Murphy. "He has helped me immensely with his organization and knowledge. I've talked to each Council member and we have agreed to extend the contract for another two years with no changes."
The Council approved Eikmeier's renewed contract on a 4-1 vote, with Linda Burkhart, Jim Peck, Dan Morrow, and Wayne Pingel voting yes, and Mick Mallory voting no, saying "only because of the money involved."
On a 3-1 vote, the Council approved hiring Eikmeier at his current salary in Dec., 2008. Mallory was the no vote and then-Council member Greg Stieneke was absent.
In other action, the Council approved the second reading and waived the third for an Ordinance increasing the number of members on the Historic Preservation Commission from seven to nine.
The Council also reviewed several names submitted to Mayor Murphy of citizens to serve on a special Koser Spring Lake Park Committee to study the proposed project and fund-raising necessary to build a new Yacht Club and Maintenance Facility in the Park.
Any action was tabled pending further discussion and contact with proposed Committee members.
Earlier this year, the City proposed a $500,000 General Obligation Bond to fund the new Park structures, but public and Council sentiment against the "exorbitant" architectural and project costs nixed that process.
Concerned residents have since stepped up to offer to serve on a special committee to explore the project's feasibility and financing, and were embraced by the City.