Vicksburg asked to resume curbside junk pickup

By Jef Rietsma

Vicksburg Village Council members last month were asked to consider reinstating the community’s annual curbside junk collection.

During the council’s May 1 meeting, residents Kelly Christiansen and Kate Wunderlin cited a number of reasons why the village might wish to offer the service once again.

Finding a company willing to do the pickup is a problem, Village Manager Jim Mallery said.

Christiansen said she is aware of several people who don’t have a vehicle – a pickup, for example – in which junk can be transported to the annual collection at the ball fields near Sunset Lake Elementary. Christiansen added the timing of the summertime junk collection also poses potential conflicts.

“Many of us are out of town or have other plans on a summer Saturday,” she said. “Even last year, my family and I made sure we were home on that Saturday, we brought a few loads and when we arrived with our last load, the trucks were gone and it was before the published end time.”

Christiansen also said a significant amount of curbside junk ends up getting recovered by scavengers who find uses for discarded materials. That in itself is a great example of recycling and adds less to landfills, Christiansen said.

“The scrap metal available benefits others, as you may know,” she added. “Vicksburg Rotary has raised over $30,000 with their scrap pickup … we make it pretty easy for them by putting it out to our curb for them to collect.”

Wunderlin said resumption of curbside junk pickup would help address blight in the community. The service, she said, benefits everyone.

“We also feel this could create a lot of good will with citizens by reinstating this amenity,” she said, noting that Plainwell, Middleville and Parchment continue to offer curbside junk pickup.

Village President Tim Frisbie said the matter is under discussion among village staff, Village Manager Jim Mallery and the council.

“Whatever we do, it’s going to be in the 2024 budget, so there’ll be ample time to have these discussions and we’ll put forward some ideas … whatever we can do to be a team player,” Frisbie responded.

Mallery said Vicksburg’s last curbside junk pickup was conducted in 2019 and it cost nearly $17,000. He said curbside junk collection has never been a matter of cost.

“COVID happened, so the service wasn’t provided during (2020), and each year, including this year, the companies would not provide it … neither Republic or Best Way would commit to a village-wide, curbside pickup. Both companies, Mallery said, gave staffing and concerns that items left at the curb are items they can no longer take to the disposal site as reasons to back out.

“This is a no-brainer. We would budget (curbside junk pickup) in a heartbeat to have it done but we can’t get anyone to do it.”

He noted a few communities that offer curbside junk pickup are serviced by a single waste company. Mallery explained that in such instances, municipalities include in their contract with a single-service hauler some type of annual curbside junk pickup.

Council member Carl Keller said he, too, misses the curbside junk pickup. He recalled that an old swing set he placed by the street a few years ago was eventually picked up and presumably repurposed by someone.

He said the matter of resuming an annual curbside junk collection remains on the village council’s radar.

In an unrelated matter, council member Rick Holmes noted that Vicksburg Little League did not petition the village for a parade permit this year. As a result, a longtime tradition that should have taken place April 28 did not.

“Unfortunately, there was an organization that did not engage the village to the extent that they could have, and that’s the Vicksburg Little League,” he said. “For some reason, they chose not to file a petition and those kids did not have a parade this past weekend. I really hope they file an application (next year). I think the village would very quickly approve it and we’d more than happy to see that parade in town.”

Leave a Reply