Brainerd considers enforcement measures for garbage bin removal

Waste bins sit out for collection Wednesday, Sept. 9, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

A new solid waste committee already has proposed changes to Brainerd’s garbage collection process after just one meeting.

The committee was formed in September after discussions on how to handle various complaints about garbage bins being left out long after collection. Made up of city staff, city council member Jan Lambert and representatives from Waste Partners, Waste Management, Nisswa Sanitation and Pequot Sanitation, the group plans to meet at least yearly to discuss solid waste and recycling issues in the city.

After meeting Oct. 1, the group proposed several changes to city code regarding public health and garbage disposal. The council approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment Monday, Oct. 20.

First, instead of allowing both street and alley pickup, the ordinance will change to only allow alley pickup, unless no alley is available. Haulers must also provide their pickup schedules and a list of addresses mutually agreed upon with the city that do not have alley pickup available.

“All the haulers stated that they have one or two days that they pick up all of the cans in Brainerd, and they’re just generally split by Washington Street,” City Engineer Paul Sandy told the council Monday. “And so, what we figured is that if we know that Waste Partners picks up north of Washington Street on Mondays and there’s a Waste Partner can out on Thursday and we get a complaint about it, that that person would become part of our administration citation process.”


Next, the ordinance will require garbage and recycling bins to be placed outside no earlier than 6 p.m. the day before collection and to be removed by the end of the collection day.

“This means that the can can basically be left out for 30 hours total,” Sandy said. “This, along with the haulers’ pickup schedules, will provide us with an enforceable tool.”

The ordinance amendment would allow for only four hauler licenses in the city each year. Because of the proximity of the Crow Wing County Landfill to Brainerd, this will reduce the number of haulers who “top off trucks” on the way through town, only picking up a few cans, causing additional wear and tear to city streets. The licenses will be offered to the four haulers from the prior year first and, if not obtained, will then become available to the next eligible company.

As soon as the ordinance is officially amended, both city staff and haulers will begin a campaign to educate residents on the importance of not leaving garbage and recycling bins out for longer than allowed.

“It helps both from a maintenance perspective, and it helps from the haulers’ perspective of keeping tabs on their customers,” Sandy said.

Council President Gabe Johnson asked if the committee discussed rancid carcasses, as deer season is approaching, and the city charter prohibits anyone from “bringing, depositing or having within said City any putrid carcass or other unwholesome substance” and authorizes the city to remove such at items at a resident’s expense. Sandy said that issue did not come up, and Johnson suggested that be a discussion topic in the future.

In other business Monday, the council:

Approved a lawful gambling application from Lakes Area Bowling Association to conduct bingo Nov. 17-12 at Jack’s House.


Approved on-sale beer, wine and Sunday liquor licenses for Big Jay’s Pizza Arcade, a new establishment at 217 S. Seventh St. Suite 15.

Accepted the resignation of Community Service Officer Hannah Tolbert, effective Oct. 22, and authorized staff to fill the vacancy.

Agreed to turn a streetlight on Crestview Lane back on after receiving a petition signed by all adjacent residents. Greg Roberts originally asked for the light to be turned back on at 2014 Crestview Lane, near the intersection of Norway Court, after it was turned off about eight years ago during a citywide light reduction initiative.

Accepted a $36,000 forestry grant from the Department of Natural Resources, with the money to fund a city tree inventory, replace or treat diseased ash trees, adopt an emerald ash borer management plan to combat the invasive species and develop a strategic management plan for public trees.

Scheduled a public hearing to discuss the implementation and progress of the Small Cities Development Program grant the city received in 2018. The hearing will be 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2, during the regular council meeting.

Certified assessments for the downtown special services district, the old stonebridge trail lift project and the northeast Brainerd resurfacing and reconstruction projects.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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