Aldermen speak out on trash service

Published 7:02 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017

BELHAVEN — “It’s time for it to stop.”

That was the message Belhaven Alderman Ricky Credle had Monday night for Mayor Adam O’Neal, regarding an ongoing dispute over trash service.

Other Board of Aldermen members weighed in on the dispute, as well, after months of remaining silent on the matter.

“(Spoon River was) about to be in violation of their trash not being picked up, and in that situation, you do have a town ordinance, but also the letter stated that state law overrides the town’s law if they’re about to be in violation,” Credle said. “They were just trying to run a business. They’re in the community; they do a lot for the community; they’re trying to help the community stay built up. We don’t need to keep attacking individuals and businesses. We’ve got to learn to move forward and work together and figure these things out civilly. … There’s ways this can be done without all the name calling and pointing fingers.”

Credle was referring to a situation that came to light publicly in April, in which Manager Woody Jarvis allowed Spoon River Artworks and Market to contract with another trash company other than David’s (which is not in compliance with a town ordinance).

David’s Trash Service was unable to dump the weight of Spoon River’s trash in the containers being used. Spoon River is planning to install a concrete pad to support a larger container once grant money for renovations and an expansion is secured. At that time, the restaurant agreed to go back to its contract with David’s.

“At the time, if they had done anything with David’s Trash, they would’ve had to have poured a concrete slab. They could not. Otherwise, they would be in jeopardy of a $500,000 grant,” Alderman Yvonne DeRuiz said. “Now it seems to me, a $500,000 grant is a huge economic boost to this town, compared to $30 a month for three trashcans.”

O’Neal argued that David’s Trash has had trouble picking up trash for years at Spoon River, so the concrete slab should’ve been poured a long time ago — before the grant money came into play.

O’Neal maintains that the situation with Spoon River is an example of favoritism, as the Town allows the restaurant to contract with another trash company, while it will not allow such an agreement with Speedway.

Speedway contacted David’s Trash via email to say its services were no longer needed. When the Town tried to contact Speedway, it was unable to give answers about the email, so the Town continues to bill the corporation as usual in compliance with the town ordinance until contacted by Speedway, according to Jarvis.

“I am totally miffed and mind blown that this issue, that everybody doesn’t see it. It blows my mind,” O’Neal said. “The reason this keeps coming up is that nothing is being done.”

O’Neal’s real estate business and Arthur’s Community Mart both previously requested an end to service with David’s Trash, a request with which the Town complied.

“It’s not only about trash. It’s about applying ordinances equally across the board,” O’Neal said.

Alderman Steve Carawan agreed with O’Neal, saying he believes all individuals and businesses should be brought into compliance with the trash service ordinance.

“It’s simple. What’s wrong with that? There’s an ordinance on the books,” Carawan said. “When you deviate from that and allow this, that and the other to go on, you’ve got chaos, and that’s not what we’ve got. We’ve got an ordinance on the books.”

After 30 minutes of heated discussion, Carawan made a motion to compel Jarvis to bring all parties into compliance by working out an agreement and some sort of solution with David’s Trash — a motion unanimously approved by the four board members in attendance.

There is no word yet on the details of this proposed solution.