TRAVERSE CITY — City commissioners will debate the merit of buying a new garbage truck for $201,000 or looking to contract privately for someone to empty city trash cans.
Mayor Michael Estes wants the city to explore contracting options, but City Manager Jered Ottenwess said the city needs the new truck. Estes will raise the issue with commissioners when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Governmental Center. The meeting was postponed one day because of the Presidents’ Day holiday.
“Right now, the Downtown Development Authority is exploring outside services to look at doing additional trash pickup in the downtown,” Estes said. “I think at the time we are talking about the purchase of a $200,000 trash truck would be a good time to explore other possibilities.”
The city owns one 10-year-old truck and wants to purchase a new truck to empty city trash cans at parks and the downtown in case the older one breaks down. The city owned two garbage trucks in the past and also uses them for leaf pick-up in the spring and fall.
The ability of the garbage trucks to compact and carry more leaves than an open dump truck can speed the process.
The city might have been able to finish its leaf collection before the snow hit this fall if it had two garbage trucks, said Mark Jones, the city’s street department superintendent in a memo to commissioners.
Commissioners also are expected to authorize an $815,000 contract to purchase new filtering membranes for the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The townships that share the plant with the city through the Grand Traverse County Board of Public Works last week voted to support the purchase.
Township officials still dispute whether the purchase should be tax exempt, and if the cost should be considered a capital or maintenance expense. A capital expense would be based on plant ownership and the townships would pay 40 percent of the cost. Maintenance or operational costs are divided based on plant usage, which would raise the townships’ cost to 50 percent.
The purchase is the first of eight membrane filter units that will have to be replaced over the coming years and likely will set the cost split for the remaining purchases.
“They decided to go forward with the purchase and hold in reserve the other issues because the clock is ticking,” said Mike Slater, director of public works for the county.
The membranes must be installed when temperatures remain at 40 degrees and the purchase needs to be made now to have the membranes constructed and installed by the fall, Slater said.