Jeff Kresicher (left in red jacket) addresses City Council on Monday. About 30 people attended the meeting to hear and talk about the trash issue. (DHI Media/Erin Cox)
Jeff Kresicher (left in red jacket) addresses City Council on Monday. About 30 people attended the meeting to hear and talk about the trash issue. (DHI Media/Erin Cox)
VAN WERT — Van Wert’s City Council meeting had a full house on Monday evening as the city’s trash haulers showed up to discuss the city’s trash issue.

About 30 people attended the Health, Safety and Service Committee meeting prior to the regular meeting to voice concerns that blame is being put on the trash haulers when the real issue is with individuals in the city who are not taking their trash to the curb or paying for trash services and instead putting it in a building or letting it build up around their homes.

“I think we’re all in agreement that we want to beautify the city,” Jeff Kreischer, a trash hauler in the city, said noting that he thinks that the first step is to enforce the city ordinances that deal with junk on residents’ properties.

The discussion of the trash issue began months ago when City Council began voting on an ordinance to coordinate the trash pickup schedule with the recycling pickup schedule. The ordinance was rejected on its third and final vote with City Council members noting that they believed there could be a better solution to organize the trash pickup schedule that wouldn’t hamper new trash hauling businesses from starting up.

Later in the meeting in Monday Britt Menchhofer, the environmental health director with the Van Wert County Health Department, noted the problems that she sees in the county and city because of the trash.

“It is a hazard,” she said. “Those places where the trash is in buildings, there’s rats, there’s mice, there’s cockroaches.”

The discussion will continue to allow for all comments from the public at 5 p.m. Monday, March 20, in City Council Chambers at 515 E. Main St.

The tension continued to be high as City Council moved into another committee meeting, Economic Development, where Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation Director Stacy Adam presented on consolidating the City and County Revolving Loan Funds.

Adam explained that the consolidation would streamline the process of approving Revolving Loans and City Council members seemed to agree that would be in the best interest of all parties.

City Auditor Martha Balyeat, however, did not like the idea of the City losing control of the fund, even though two City representatives sit on the board for the Revolving Loan Fund.

“Once it’s gone it’s gone forever,” Balyeat said concerning the City’s control of the fund.

“My main point, though, is a loan made outside the city limits is no direct benefit to the City of Van Wert,” she said.

City Council member Ken Markward questioned her on that, though, stating that a person working at the business that benefits from the Revolving Loan Fund may live in the City of Van Wert which means the City will benefit from the income tax.

In other business, City Council heard a presentation from Kim Bruns, area manager for Liberty Mobility, a transportation service that is offering its services to the Van Wert area. The service is for anyone to use and the drivers can decide if they want to accept giving rides to places as far as Fort Wayne Airport, etc.

Currently rides must be requested through an app which can be found in the Google Play Store or the iPhone App Store, but a call center is anticipated to launch on April 4.

Rides are about a dollar per mile with a $4 minimum and $1.25 booking fee. Drivers are all local people who receive 80 percent of the ride fare.

Liberty Mobility is trying to answer a need in this rural community for those who need transportation to work, appointments and more.

Also during the meeting, City Council approved a resolution stating its opposition to centralized business tax collections proposed by the State.

The next City Council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. March 27.