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Mabton City Council ponders change in garbage collections

MABTON - A none-too-pleased manager of Yakima Waste Systems spoke at the regularly scheduled Mabton City Council meeting Tuesday night. He was there in reference to a story in a local newspaper where police officer Ruben Bayona was quoted as saying that garbage is becoming a problem in Mabton.

The problem, Bayona said at the Jan. 23 council meeting, was regarding the small collection cans used. He said he wanted to see Mabton on an automated system where the driver doesn't have to get out of the truck to physically unload the garbage. Bayona suggested the city switch to Basin Disposal if the current waste removal firm can't provide updated service. He also said that Basin Disposal allows residents to dispose of more trash than what the current provider will haul away.

At last night's meeting, Yakima Waste Systems Manager Scott Robertson told council that he was in attendance to respond to the news article. He added, "We don't ordinarily conduct our business through the newspaper, so we came to open the lines of communication."

Robertson said that about 15 years ago, the company he represents took on Mabton as a client without notice after a city garbage truck broke down.

He said that Mabton has always been provided with a high level of service at a low rate. He noted that Mabton has no "commercial, retail or industrial base to support infrastructure."

He also reminded council that when the city wanted to lower garbage rates for senior citizens, this was done and when the county raised disposal fees, the senior citizen rate stayed the same in Mabton.

Robertson told council that he was willing to discuss a change in services with council.

Council member Angel Reyna expressed concern over two things: open burning of garbage in the city and recycling. He told Robertson the city is wondering if it's not better off to collect garbage by using its own manpower and equipment.

Robertson said that additional services are available for additional fees, like curbside recycling and yard waste disposal. He also said that his company does supply a recycle drop site that collects two kinds of plastics, cardboard, aluminum, tin and mixed paper. But, he said, "It doesn't generate enough to pay for itself."

Council member Mario Martinez countered that curbside recycling is much more convenient for citizens, as opposed to hauling recyclables to a drop-off bin.

Robertson's attendance at the meeting was for informational purposes only and council took no action.

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