City-wide spring clean-up tags increase to $15

Feb. 13—WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council authorized a price increase for the orange tags city residents must purchase to place large items such as mattresses and appliances curbside during the spring city-wide clean-up program. The tags will increase from $11 to $15 each.

Public Works Director Todd Wietzema said the $11 fee was in place for at least the last 10 years. In that time, the city's cost to haul the material went from $49,961 in 2013 to $72,409 in 2023. He said he's budgeted $76,000 for the program this year, and noted that the $4 increase per tag would result in an additional $5,000-plus dollars to help fund the program.

"Seeing what other cities do, we really have the best program," shared City Administrator Steve Robinson. "The benefit to all of us is that it allows people to keep their houses uncluttered and junk doesn't get dropped off in a roadside ditch out in the county."

Wietzema also said residents don't have to wait until the city-wide spring clean-up to get rid of their junk. People may call Schaap Sanitation at any time to haul away larger items that don't fit in their garbage bin — they just won't get the subsidized rate.

"My biggest complaint is we have a lot of people who take advantage of this program," Wietzema said, noting properties that will have 10 mattresses sitting out on the curb. "We have a lot of landlords who save things up."

Wietzema said tags purchased in previous years will still be honored, with the new $15 price to take effect immediately.

In other action, the council:

* Authorized an architectural and engineering study of Worthington City Hall at a fee of $6,500. Short Elliott Hendrickson will be hired to do the study, which includes a review of the building's interior and exterior, windows, HVAC systems, lighting, security and access.

* Approved amendments to three bargaining unit agreements, such as adding Juneteenth as a paid holiday, setting the normal work day at 12 hours for non supervisors in the law enforcement labor union, and cost of living adjustments of 6%, effective Jan. 1, 2024, for law enforcement labor services

* Authorized renewal of the Worthington Police Department's membership in a joint powers agreement with the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children task force. The WPD has worked with ICAC since 2008.

"They're a huge resource," said WPD Chief Troy Appel. "Without involvement with this group, these cases would be very difficult, if not impossible. It's a problem that's not going away, unfortunately."

The joint powers agreement renewal will extend the partnership through May 31, 2029.

* Accepted a $150 donation from the Early Risers Kiwanis on behalf of the WPD. The funds will be used to purchase supplies for DARE programming.

* Approved on-sale Sunday liquor licenses for the Voak-Janssen VFW Post 3958 and Jebena Ethiopian Cuisine restaurant, effective Feb. 13 through June 30, at which time they can renew for an annual fee.

* Accepted an $8,000 grant from the Southwest Initiative Foundation on behalf of the Artmobile. Artmobile operator Gail Holinka will use the grant for a new project, "Building relationships: Creating art with the young and young at heart."

* Approved the following committee appointments/reappointments: Mike Kuhle and Salvadore Adame each reappointed to a five-year term on the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board; Leah Gossom appointed to the Cross Cultural Advisory Committee; Blake Regnier and Brett Lehman reappointed to the Public Arts Commission for a three-year term; Mike Hoeft reappointed to a three-year term on the Planning Commission; Armand Eshleman and Phil Willardson appointed to the Airport Advisory Board; Judy Alm, Julie Haas and Renee Heidebrink appointed to the Center for Active Living Board.

* Learned that the 2024 Local Board of Appeal and Equalization for the city of Worthington is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 2, 2024 in the Nobles County Commissioner's Room.

* Appointed election judges and alternates for the March 5 Presidential Nomination Primary.

* Authorized a professional services agreement with Abdo Solutions to complete a comprehensive compensation and classification study. Abdo was previously contracted to review the city's compensation plan. This next stage in the process will include updating and reviewing job descriptions, completing a market compensation analysis, developing a performance management process and numerous other tasks. The $59,950 fee for the work will be funded with unallocated American Rescue Plan funds issued to the city.