Helena City Council votes to suspend subscription-based yard debris service

Published 7:52 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

HELENA – The city of Helena made a considerable vote during its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Sept. 26.

At the meeting, the City Council voted to discontinue the city-offered subscription-based yard debris service effective Oct. 28, 2022.

In a statement released by Mayor Brian Puckett, it was revealed that over the past few months the Council was presented with several options for solutions to save the service, but none were able to garner enough for a majority vote approval. With all solutions being voted down, there were no other options but to discontinue the service.

Councilmember Chris VanCleave said that he and Council President Alice Lobell worked on four options for a possible solution which were the following:

1. Fully fund it in the municipal budget

2. Outsource to a vendor

3. Every household pay $6 for yard Debris removal services

4. Every household pay $6 for yard debris and expanded to include other debris as well.

“Current subscription rates did not cover the expense of providing this service and we looked for ways to continue the service for all citizens as we believed it was a value add for the city. With no funding source to support this effort, the resolution had to be passed to halt services,” VanCleave said. “It is a sad ending for a service that I thought brought incredible value to the entire city and its citizen and leaves residents without viable solutions.”

Trash and recycling will remain with Republic Services with no changes or interruptions. This will dispose of the city’s annual free Bulk Trash Day, which normally costs the city $20,000.

“The city knows and understands the additional burden this will have on the roughly 2,000 households that utilize this service,” Puckett’s statement read. “All routes will continue to run through the week ending Friday, Oct. 28. Current customers will no longer see the $7 charge reflected on their utility bill for the month of November.”

The statement continues that all businesses operating a debris removal business within the city will be required to have a business license with residents being responsible to validate such.

“We encourage residents who will begin using private companies for debris removal to do research to make sure you are using a reputable company by the Better Business Bureau,” the statement reads.