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Posted on October 10, 2019 at 8:31 AM by Bryan Obenchain
“Other cities in North Dakota have curbside recycling, why doesn’t Minot?”
“We don’t need curbside recycling in Minot. It will cost too much money.”
“Even if I have to pay a little more, I’m in favor of recycling.”
“There are already private options for recycling in Minot.”
At the City of Minot, we’ve heard all of these sentiments, and a lot more, during our years-long discussion of whether or not Minot should implement a curbside recycling program. At an upcoming meeting, we’re hoping to hear more about what community members think about the issue.
At the Oct. 21 City Council meeting, a discussion about curbside recycling will be on the agenda. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.
Assistant Public Works Director Jason Sorenson will present the latest cost analysis on implementing a curbside recycling program. Sorenson has frequently provided information to the City Council and the public on recycling, and has researched the pros and cons of the issue.
In Minot, public sentiment on recycling has often been sharply divided, and supporters and opponents have routinely stated their reasons for their stances. Members of the City Council have also been divided, with some members strongly in favor of recycling, while others are not ready to embrace the idea for a variety of reasons.
This isn’t a new topic of discussion in Minot. In 2014, a survey found that 72 percent of respondents would be willing to pay a fee for the convenience of curbside recycling in Minot. In 2017, the City implemented automated trash pickup as the first step toward an eventual curbside recycling program. The next step was intended to be construction of a transfer facility, but funds for the building were removed from the 2018 budget as part of cost-saving efforts.
Now, it’s nearing the end of 2019, and the discussion is on-going.
The main reason why recycling is on the Council agenda on Oct. 21 is to hear more input from the public. Perhaps you’ve already made your feelings known to City staff or members of the City Council, whether in person or by email. Please, do it again. We’d encourage you to attend the Oct. 21 meeting to let your opinion be known. If you can’t make it to the meeting, let us know your thoughts on the issue. Email us. Call us. Whether you’re in favor of curbside recycling or you’re against the idea, we want to hear from you.
The question we’re asking the public to help answer is simple: Should the City of Minot continue to move toward implementing a curbside recycling program?
As a City and as a City Council, we cannot answer that question ourselves. The community must be involved in the discussion and the ultimate decision. We look forward to seeing – and hearing – you at the Oct. 21 meeting.
Sincerely, City Hall
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.
Posted on September 20, 2019 at 3:03 PM by Derek Hackett
Posted on September 9, 2019 at 4:09 PM by Bryan Obenchain
While many in our community may see much of this summer’s extremely busy road construction season as aggravating, annoying, or inconvenient, I see the flurry of work in a different light. I see it as progress. I see it as growth. And I see it as being one year closer to protecting our community and others against another flood event.
Much of the major work on Broadway this summer is vital to the successful completion of the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Plan. The massive underground storm water pipe that was installed this year is crucial to the overall infrastructure of the project, which is the largest in our community’s history. The months of head-to-head traffic certainly changed the driving habits of many residents, but the work was absolutely necessary.
Even without the flood protection work on Broadway, this was going to be a busy year on Broadway. The overlay project on north Broadway and the replacement of various concrete panels and some curb and gutter meant drivers would see a lot of orange cones this year. But Minot’s backlog of deferred maintenance on road repairs has grown tremendously through the past decade, and the City Council has actively worked to help the City’s engineering and traffic departments reduce that backlog in recent budgets. I would expect that effort to continue in future budgets.
It’s been an extremely busy year on 16th Street SW, too, and we recognize that the street’s full closure for the past few weeks has put additional stress on commuters, especially during peak times. Again, the work taking place on 16th Street SW is key to ensuring that our community is protected should another flood event happen in future years. Reopening 16th Street SW with two lanes of head-to-head traffic late last week will help alleviate the traffic backups on other routes, and we look forward to when the road is fully open to traffic.
As we discussed at the City Council meeting last week, there is another major road closure happening; Third Street NE is closed at the intersection of Fifth Avenue NE, just north of the Third Street bridge. We fully recognize the inconvenience caused by this closure, but major underground work related to the flood control project is happening at that location. In order for the project to continue its progress, this work that ties into the overall project needs to be completed this construction season.
Every construction season reminds me of the attitude North Dakotans generally have when it comes to winter. Yes, there is much to complain about during winter, but as the weather warms, snow melts, and spring is clearly visible on the calendar, ask North Dakotans what they thought of the latest winter. In my experience, you’ll hear a lot of things like “It wasn’t so bad” or “Well, it could have been worse.” By necessity, we have short memories.
And so it is with construction. Yes, this summer has been hectic in Minot. Traffic habits were altered on many of the busiest routes in town, creating frustrating commutes. But let’s not forget that 2018 was an extremely busy construction year, too. And so was 2017. And 2016. And 2015. And, well, you get the point. This year, the construction work has been more visible since it’s taken place on major traffic routes, including Broadway, 16th Street SW and Third Street NE. That won’t always be the case.
Our focus continues to be on completing the basin-wide flood protection system in an efficient and cost-effective manner, and sometimes that means construction affecting several major traffic routes must be done at the same time. Scheduling contractors and subcontractors is a difficult task, and it isn’t always feasible or efficient to wait until one project is complete before starting another project, even if that means some of the traffic changes overlap. Yes, it’s temporarily inconvenient for everyone, and we appreciate our community’s patience as this project progresses. The end result – protecting our city and our neighbors – will certainly be worth it.