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101 1st St NE
Box 12
Bowman, ND 58623-0012

City sets dates, rules for new fall cleanup

October 10, 2014

Leaves blowing down a Bowman street. (Photo by Bryce Martin | Pioneer)

By BRYCE MARTIN | Pioneer Editor |

The Bowman City Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved details for a new service to be provided by the city’s refuse department.

Commissioners voted to establish a cleanup period during the autumn season, following in the tradition of the city’s annual spring cleanup held earlier in the year.

The fall cleanup is set to begin Oct. 27 and run for one week, during which time bulky items accumulated from lawn cleanup throughout city limits are picked up curbside, or from alleyways, at no charge.

Bowman’s city landfill will also be open, free for residents to utilize.

Some exceptions apply, however, differing it from the spring’s annual city cleaning.

During its regular board meeting, Todd Hofland of the Bowman Street Department explained to the commissioners that it would be wise to restrict the new fall cleanup service to only wood, such as trees and branches. During the spring, oversized items of any kind can be placed out for disposal.

Hofland told the board that accepting only trees, braches and other wood products would cut down on the amount of time spent by his workers, using three trucks for just wood instead of each containing different items.

Commission President Lyn James initially raised a concern that residents are accustomed to a “full service” cleanup during the spring and, through confusion, could set out for pickup items other than trees and branches.

“[Residents are] going to catch on,” said Stacy McGee, city utilities auditor.

James wasn’t convinced. While she considered it a great service for the city to provide, James voiced concern about the refuse department potentially encountering restricted items that people laid out during the fall cleanup.

“Will you leave it or will you address it?” James asked Hofland. “I don’t think we should ignore it, but I don’t think we should just leave it.”

James said she wanted to be sure to set up a plan for properties that may have set out items they normally would during the spring cleanup, or it could become a “contentious issue.”

“And it will if we don’t have a plan,” she explained.

Commissioner Chuck Whitney said he would volunteer to make phone calls to each property owner that left out items the department wouldn’t accept. One of the main items not accepted—and are not throughout the year—are car tires. Residents wishing to dispose of their tires are required to pay for city pick-up because the city also has to pay for their disposal. Household garbage, including shingles, also are not accepted at the city landfill, nor are upholstered items.

While the city focused on setting guidelines for the clean-up, another maintenance issue was shelved.

No surrounding city has an ordinance that commands the city must pick-up grass clipping or leaves, but Bowman broached the topic of changing that during its recent budget hearings.

Concerned with large amounts of employee overtime, it was suggested that the refuse department add a fifth employee to ease the load.

McGee suggested, however, that the city suspend its plans to begin picking up clippings and leaves until a fifth person is hired and has worked for at least one year, to familiarize them with the department’s routine.

“That’s a very reasonable concern,” Whitney said. The other commissioners agreed.

It was then decided that the city would discuss the topic again during its next budget hearings, for 2016, and decided if there’s room in the budget to afford the added expenditure.

Whitney added that most residents in Bowman already do a “good job” of disposing their clippings and leaves properly in the Dumpster.