GARRETT — Citizen woes about poor garbage pickup and optional residential recycling service were brought up at Tuesday’s meeting of the Garrett Common Council.

Councilmen Todd Sattison and Bobby Diederich shared complaints of spotty, if any, pick up service, residential trash bins that are left unemptied for several days and concerns by residents that they would be fined if cans sit out by the street too long, violating city code.

Diederich and Sattison said they spoke with representatives from Republic Services to find a reason for the delays, only to learn the company is having trouble finding drivers, is short on help and experiencing truck breakdowns with as many as 11-12 trucks in disrepair.

Mayor Todd Fiandt said he spoke with the company’s office in Lexington, Kentucky, who estimate service to resume about July 29.

No penalty or fees will be charged where waste cans have not been emptied in a timely manner and stay by the street. Some areas in town have not seen disruption in service, Fiandt added. While Republic Service is contracted the city’s waste hauler through 2021, it was noted the same problems exist with other contractors as well.

Fiandt and City Attorney Dan Brinkerhoff agreed a press release from the contractor should be sent out to explain the situation and posted on the city’s social media and website, and in the local newspapers.

In other business, the council revisited an amendment to an interlocal agreement with DeKalb Central Dispatch that was tabled at the July 6 session to allow City Attorney Darrick Brinkerhoff to get more information on what changes were involved in the measure.

Following a call to county officials, he reportedly found the sole purpose of the amendment was to change the makeup of the board by removing an appointee from Parkview Hospital and replacing with a representative from the DeKalb County Department of Homeland Security. The amendment was approved Tuesday by a 3-0 vote. Council members Amanda Charles and Dave Demske were not present for the vote.

Police Chief Roland McPherson reported two of six officer candidates passed written and physical testing to move forward in the interview process. In response to a citizen concern at the July 6 meeting regarding whether all-clear signals follow tornado sirens, he reported the county sends the all-clear via radio channels, but does not send out the all-clear tones publicly.

Councilman Tom Kleeman expressed concern that a request for tax abatement by Mossberg Industries had not yet come before the council for approval. The tax break is part of an enterprise zone and had been referred to the Garrett Redevelopment Commission. Dan Brinkerhoff said he would contact RDC Attorney Doug Johnston to find the status of the abatement.

Fiandt reported the city applied for two large grants through the American Recovery Plan with hopes for additional improvements in the city, to “get the biggest bang for the buck.”

Kleeman asked if meetings can still be held via Zoom.

New protocols have been set where video must be included with virtual meetings but votes can now be cast by those attending via Zoom, Dan Brinkerhoff said.

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