By Paul McDonald TR News/Sports TRreporter@timesonline.com
Alberta Newspaper Group
You may have noticed something delivered to your house this week. The 65-gallon garbage container courtesy of the City of Valley City. These new containers are being delivered to every residence in Valley City and they will be specific to each residence. Each tote will have a barcode on it so it will be specific to each address. City Administrator Gwen Crawford says that will make it easier to get that container back to the rightful owner if something happens to it. “If for some reason the container gets left out and gets blown down the road and no one knows who it belongs to, we will be able to look at that barcode and get it back to the right house.” With the winds we can get in North Dakota, the City recommends that you write the number down so you can easily identify your container. The City asks that you do not mark on your container. There will not be a charge for this first container. However, if your first can is lost or stolen, there will be a simple procedure that you can follow to get a replacement container, but there would be a charge to the resident. “They would just call the office and tell them they need another container,” Crawford said. “And have to pay whatever the cost for us (the city) to replace it is at the time. Right now that cost is $75. When the replacement container is delivered, we will put the new barcode under that address in our system.” New containers may be purchased at City Hall/Public Works during business hours Monday-Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Even if your first container is not lost or stolen, you can purchase one extra container for $75 and the cost to dump the extra container will be $25 a month. (That averages out to around $5 a pickup when you take into account months with more than 4 weeks in it.) The $25 fee will be charged regardless of whether or not you put the extra garbage container out every week. When the containers are delivered, there will be a clear bag with a set of instructions attached. Crawford says there is going to be a particular way that you need to set your container out. “There is actually embossed instructions on the top of the can. Most people think it’s easier with the wheels out, but the wheels need to face towards the house. You want the front of the can out towards the street for the pick up.” She reminds again that there is information in the packet and written on top of the can. Residents need to know, despite the new truck and container, there will NOT be a rate increase. “Valley City is a transfer station,” Crawford said. “So all of the household garbage here goes out to our transfer station, it gets compacted into one large container as tight as it can, then gets hauled to Fargo. We pay per ton, when it goes to Fargo and that’s really what dictates our rates around here.” There will be some restrictions with the new container. The lid on the container must be able to close completely and the weight cannot exceed 130 pounds so that damage is not caused to the container by overweight loads. Crawford adds that residents should bag their trash before putting it in the new container. “There are a lot of people who put loose trash in their containers. When it’s being dumped now, it will be up in the air and blow out if it’s a windy day and this would prevent that from happening.” Crawford says the reason for the change is efficiency. “For a couple of years now, it has been difficult to keep the crew for the garbage fully staffed. The inclement weather, whether it’s too hot or too cold, is just not fun. Keeping that department fully staffed has been really difficult.” Crawford herself witnessed this first hand. “I jumped on to the back of a truck myself in 2021 because we were behind after Christmas and I said to myself, how do they do this every day? It was zero degrees and the wind was howling at the time. I was not loving it but it still has to be done.” Crawford says other towns around Valley City are moving to this automated garbage collection system. “You look at other towns, Buffalo, Lisbon, Jamestown. It doesn’t matter small or big, they are all moving to this for most of the same reasons, labor is the biggest piece of it.” This automated truck system will begin the week of June 5th and the new schedule will be as follows for all residential pickup: Monday southwest part of town (all residential containers south of Main and west of Central). Tuesday - southeast part of town (all residential containers south of Main and east of Central) Wednesday - northeast part of town (all residential containers north of Main and east of Central). Thursday and Friday - northwest part of town (all residential containers north of Main and west of Central). Crawford says they want to work to a point where this plan gets streamlined. “Our ultimate goal, if everything goes right, would be to get the entire town residential done in four days, instead of five which would be huge.” All dumpster pick-up will remain the same day as they are currently picked-up. Crawford encourages residents to read the packet that is with the container when delivered. That packet should answer all questions. If there are any questions you feel were not answered by the packet, call Public Works at 701-845-0380 for assistance.