SIKESTON - Residential solid waste pickup in alleys will remain in place for the time being.
With Councilman Michael Harris absent, the vote on Councilman Phil Boyer's motion to eliminate alley pickup was split 3-3 at the regular Sikeston City Council meeting Monday.
The issue was raised by a request from Sonny's Solid Waste to move all trash pickup to front curbs, according to City Manager Doug Friend.
Friend said a list of alleys with problems was provided by Sonny's Solid Waste "and we went out and addressed those problems." He added he is not aware of any other specific problems other than seasonal washouts.
Even if alley trash pickup stopped, the city still has a responsibility to maintain the alleys, Friend said, and to hold adjacent property owners responsible for growth and other obstructions from their yards.
Also, the Board of Municipal Utilities, the gas company, code enforcement, mosquito control and the Department of Public Safety will continue to need access to alleys.
Sikeston resident Dan Norton said he moved into his present home specifically because it has an alley for trash pickup, and that eliminating alley pickup would punish all residents with alleys because of a few who don't maintain theirs.
Norton said the city has other options such as declaring the lack of maintenance a public nuisance. He said statutes also provide for the city to do the maintenance and then bill the offending residents or property owners.
"We don't mind picking up (in) the alleys if they're maintained," said Mike Glaus of Sonny's Solid Waste.
Glaus said picking up from the alleys is actually easier when the alleys are maintained than going around cars on the streets.
Linda Glaus of Sonny's Solid Waste said they only asked to move all pickups to the street instead of picking out certain alleys to be fair, but they must have the alleys maintained.
Other problems in the alleys include parked vehicles, residents burning leaves and leaving hot spots, pot holes and old mattresses and other junk blocking routes.
The critical event leading to the request was when an overgrown vine caught on a trash truck's mirror and pulled a limb down which crushed the truck's cab.
"It boils down to personal responsibility," said Mayor Mike Marshall. "I think we should work out some kind of compromise."
Friend said it is an old problem, but city staff "will do our best to maintain the alleys."
"I don't believe there's an alley in town that is 15 feet wide," said Boyer.
Marshall suggested it will take a "cooperative effort," and said the Council will discuss the issue further. "Maybe we'll come up with a solution."