Council cancels annual clean up day

Residents won't get rid of junk for free this spring
By: Cheri March
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Colfax City Council members canceled the city’s annual Spring Clean Up on Wednesday in light of a $30,000 operating budget deficit. Council members will reevaluate the program for the 2010-11 fiscal year budget, possibly opting to hold the event this fall. Much of the gap in this year’s budget is due to recent cuts, including layoffs, explained City Manager Bruce Kranz. “Making those decisions to reduce the budget cost us money,” Kranz said. “You have to pay vacation time, you have to pay overtime – but all those very hard decisions were made so that next year at this time we don’t have a burden.” During Spring Clean Up, city staff and volunteers dispose of unwanted items for residents at no charge. Past cleanups have cost the city between $4,000 and $8,000. “Right now we have one public works person on duty…it took three (employees) plus a couple volunteers to help do this in past years,” said Councilmember Donna Barkle. “I don’t think we can afford to do it, physically or fiscally.” Councilmember Suzanne Roberts expressed concern that eliminating the program entirely might encourage residents to dump appliances, furniture or other large garbage throughout the city, rather than pay to dispose of it. A voucher program to limit the amount of trash collected per person was discussed as one way to lower expenses of the cleanup. Wednesday’s agenda originally included a public hearing on the permit and parcel map for a controversial JS West Propane facility, but council members postponed the hearing to an undecided future date. Plans for two on-site storage tanks at the proposed Highway 174 facility have raised safety concerns among some residents. “There’s still a lot of research that needs to be done based upon comments that have come in,” said Kranz. “We’re going to go out and notice the public all over again. (They will have) proper time to review it and whenever the date is set, will be able to comment.”