Salem residents who have made a pile of junk to set out for the city's fall clean-up program will have to hold on to the castoffs until spring or make a run to the landfill themselves.
"What about not having a fall clean up?"
That was the question Public Works Director Bill Worsham asked the Salem City Council at its Aug. 26 meeting.
"We've been picking up brush all summer. We'll continue picking up brush from now on," Worsham told the council.
But, he added, the fall clean-up costs about $2,000 in landfill fees plus the labor costs of city workers.
Worsham's complaint is much of the junk set out during the fall clean-up comes from landlords who set out items renters have left behind.
"Good example," said Worsham, "is the second house up the street (from City Hall). It's empty now and it will set there until we have fall clean up."
One citizen who attended the meeting asked, "Where do we put big things, like that, we can't throw away in the regular trash?"
Mayor Gary Clayton responded that the city will still have its spring clean-up or people should take large, unneeded items to the landfill themselves.
Councilman Bill Newton was, initially, uncertain about the wisdom of cancelling the fall clean-up saying, "I don't know. I understand what he's saying and I guess we'll be picking up limbs from now on."
When no other council members expressed doubts, Newton said, "I don't guess I wouldn't have a problem with it. I wouldn't care to try it."
No formal vote was taken but, based on general agreement, it appears the fall clean-up is off, at least for this year.
In other business, Mayor Clayton expressed hope the city will soon be approved for a $7,300 USDA grant which will help purchase new equipment to test for alcohol impaired drivers.
New testing equipment must be in place by next April 1.
If the USDA grant is approved, the city will pay it's part of the purchase by using a $2,200 Justice Assistance Grant that has already been approved.
The city hopes to learn in four to six weeks whether it will receive a $486,000 grant to rebuild an old, main sewer line which runs from Highway 62 to the Preacher Roe Ball Park.
According to the Mayor, the line is old and not tightly sealed, allowing runoff to infiltrate the pipe during storms. That causes additional flow which puts an additional load on the sewer treatment plant.
The grant application has been approved by the state Wastewater Advisory Committee and the Mayor is optimistic it will be approved by Arkansas Economic Development.
During the meeting, the council made the unusual decision of turning down another grant which has been approved.
The grant would provide $23,200 toward the purchase of a dump truck to handle wood chips at the city's solid waste site.
The Mayor explained the city expected to receive $36,975 from the grant program, leaving the city's match just $12,225. The amount actually approved ($23,200) was substantially less because the state has less money for the grant program this year.
"Bill (Worsham) and I have talked about it and we're of the opinion that we'd be better off foregoing that application this year," said the Mayor.
The Mayor went on to explain that, since the amount of the grant was cut, the city would have to come up with $26,000 instead of $12,000 to buy the truck.
Council members agreed the city may be better off spending the $26,000 on needs or projects with a higher priority. So, they decided not to accept the approved grant.