Toledo: Garbage rates up slightly, creating a “Mayors Park,” Disc Golf Course, possible background checks on future city employees and “some” city volunteers, and new cab service for Toledo is in the wings.
Representatives from Dahl Disposal Service informed the Toledo City Council during a workshop Tuesday evening that they would like the council’s approval of a rate increase for the average residential customer of $1.40 a month – the first rate increase they’ve seen since 2011. Dahl also sought the council’s blessing on a rate hike for the average commercial customer of $9.70 a month. When averaged across Dahl’s entire classifications of customers, they said it works out to a 1.6% rate increase across the board. Dahl says fuel costs, labor and other higher costs of doing business necessitated the request. The council reviewed the figures and listened to the numerous ways that Dahl is trying to hold down costs through route efficiency analysis, adopting UPS’s right turn only routing, shopping local for products among other cost saving strategies.
Dahl said one of their big goals is to reduce a large volume of garbage hauled which is food and green waste. He said local composting would help but from a recent survey performed in the area, only 27% of respondents indicated a willingness to begin home composting. Dahl said it’s something that will eventually be tackled by each community in light of major efforts to lengthen the lifespan of this part of Oregon’s two major landfills – Coffin Butte in the Valley and Riverbend landfill (more like a mountain) just southwest of McMinnville. When those two facilities have reached their capacity, waste hauls will involve trips to the Columbia River Gorge, which will raise haul rates, and therefore household and commercial rates considerably. And they want to push that day out in to the future as far as possible. The key, they said, is to reduce waste volumes through composting, recycling and reuse technologies.
Dahls rate increase will be taken up again at the city council’s next regular meeting 7pm, June 19th at city hall. If the rate increases are approved, they would likely take effect July 1st.
The City Council then turned its attention on a growing interest in the community for more parks – a mayors park, a heritage tree park, maybe another type of park. Discussion centered initially on a mayors park, to commemorate and honor the service of past mayors of Toledo, those passed on and those still among us. The first site suggested by a citizens committee and Aquatics and Recreation Manager Joe Andrews was a small park-like setting on Business 20 coming into Toledo, next to the soon-to-open Muggly’s Bowling Center. However, the council seemed cool to the idea citing overhead power lines and the fact that people hardly notice the pleasant little plot because they’re about to make a sharp turn to the east. They said a mayors park should be more prominent….like…say…at the foot of Main Street, perhaps.
City Councilors seemed to warm up to the idea of a mayors park at the foot of Main. No doubt the owners of Pig Feathers and Twisted Snout would welcome the possibility of something more suitably landscaped and at the forefront of the public eye – perhaps a plaque prominently affixed to a large river rock to celebrate the lives and times of former Toledo mayors. City Manager Michelle Amberg said some accounting transfers might produce some revenue to begin such a project. Since no design for such a park has yet been offered, talking about costs would obviously be premature at this point, but they all seemed very interested.
There was also talk among the councilors of another potential park site surrounding what might someday be the City of Toledo’s official “Heritage Tree” – something large, bold and mature – a splendid specimen of it’s specie. But the quest to find such a majestic symbol of the town will no doubt require the studious gaze of many a discerning eye, weaving this way and that about the town with an arboreal safari falling in behind with a legion of notetakers scribbling down the evidence and attributes of whether this tree or that might qualify as Toledo’s perfect Heritage Tree. Now THAT will be quite the field trip! Maybe put the finalists up for a vote in an upcoming primary or general election! The winner would probably would qualify as the most “solid” candidate on the ballot!
City Councilor Alma Baxter reported to the council that she’s been working with others to establish a 9 “hole” Disc Golf Course in the rugged wildland east and northeast of the city library. It will take some clearing to establish the open (sort of) fairways through which “disc golfers” will throw their frisbees as they seek to land their flying discs into the pictured metal basket “holes” spaced out about the woods. Once the disc golf course is established, then students from Toledo High and perhaps eventually others from surrounding high schools could play competitively although Baxter admits the course won’t be built to sanctioned amateur standards. But it’ll still be a lot of fun as disc golf popularity is soaring around the country. Baxter says the holes will be built as a community arts project sponsored by the Toledo Arts Guild.
The city council Tuesday night began exploring a policy whereby all future city employees will likely be subjected to a background check – to include even volunteers who provide their services to the police and fire departments as well as to assist in special city services. Those who volunteer for city wide projects like community clean-ups and such would not be subject to the policy. The council agreed that such checks would not be included in their regular employee records and that the background checs would be destroyed within a month or two of them being hired. The exact policy elements and standards of evaluation have yet to be worked out.
And the city council welcomed a new business to Toledo that should come in handy for those who can’t drive for whatever reason or need rides to other transportation in the region. He’s Ken, of Ken’s Cab who is applying for a new Toledo business license. The application triggered the creation of what’s required in any town or county when cab service emerges – a business license with specific requirements to be a cab driver/owner and to establish a rate schedule. Ken told the council that it’s his first excursion into owning his own business but that he knows the rules and state laws surrounding cab service and fully intends to follow those rules and requirements. He said he’s ready to go as fast as the council can review his application and issue his license. They said they’ll be happy to issue him his license at their next official city council meeting next Wednesday assuming everything is in order.
Ken says his Ken’s Cab Service will be specifically based in Toledo and will be available 24 hours. He says his rates will be affordable – $6 one way anywhere in town; $2.75 a mile for out of town trips. It’s a dollar for each extra person or pet and he will pick up and deliver items (including pizza) for clients. Soft drinks with food delivered is okay, but nothing alcoholic. Laws forbid that. Once Ken hits the road with his new cab service he’ll be reachable on his phone at 541-351-5135. And he does take credit cards.