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Brainerd City Council: Citywide cleanup still a possibility for fall 2012

Last year’s citywide cleanup in May, featuring curbside pick up, was met by the masses.

But with such an overwhelming turnout of items left to be picked up, costs of recycling, dumping at the Crow Wing County landfill and city crew labor hours totaled $70,571 — an excess of $20,104 — and has left the Brainerd City Council reluctant to spend funds on a second spring cleanup this year.

But that doesn’t rule out a potential fall cleanup.

Meeting before the Brainerd City Council meeting Monday night, the Personnel and Finance Committee motioned to re-establish the cleanup committee that was in operation for last year’s spring cleanup to determine if and when the city should have a fall cleanup.

The brainchild of council members Bonnie Cumberland and Bob Olson, who worked with City Administrator Dan Vogt and City Engineer Jeff Hulsether last April, the cleanup effort’s goal was the beautification of Brainerd.

But problems quickly arose when too many people began taking advantage of the free service, calling for extended city crew hours and additional costs to the city. A concern was also raised that people were coming from outside of the city to dump their things on city curbs for pick up. The cleanup project also left city crews falling behind on their regular work.

But despite the struggles and extra costs seen last year it’s an effort Cumberland said the city should still consider, with other alternatives to be looked at to help alleviate some of the costs and hesitation in moving forward with another cleanup project.

Helping to meet the city’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit in conjunction with the city’s Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), the planning department also expressed their wishes to continue with some sort of cleanup project.

“It is the planning department’s hope that the decision is made not to discontinue the (cleanup) program,” Brainerd City Planner Mark Ostgarden said in a memo to council Monday. “Cities around the state have found that providing an organized city cleanup is beneficial.”

The council agreed with an unanimous approval for a cleanup committee to be pulled together, leaving all options open.

“We are going to work with staff and get the committee together and get a date set right away,” Cumberland said.

JESSI PIERCE may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).