Cuts close out Cape's citywide cleanup

Friday, April 9, 2004

Sure signs of spring in Cape Girardeau: flowering trees in bloom, tulips and daffodils blossoming in colorful beds, and old mattresses and yard waste piled up on curbs.

It's time for the annual -- and final -- spring cleanup. Cleanup begins Monday and continues through Friday. Pam Sander of the city's Department of Public Works said that extra items will be picked up during residents' normal trash pickup days.

Spring cleanup is one of a long list of line items cut from next year's city budget. Eliminating it will save $52,000, said city finance director John Richbourg.

Last spring the city hauled away more than 924 tons of items that tend to pile up over the years in garages, sheds and basements. Mayor Jay Knudtson said the city's sales tax revenue has been flat, and the city council had to make some tough decisions and prioritize what it can pay for. Essential services like police and fire protection take precedence over spring cleanup.

"We have a responsibility to the citizens to offer them a balanced budget," Knudtson said. "We don't have the revenue to support nonessential items right now."

Cammi Corbin and her mother, Christi Corbin, who live at 919 West End Blvd. have taken advantage of spring cleanup every year.

"We're remodeling and each year we have different things to put out," Cammi Corbin said. "I don't know what we would do if we don't have it."

Deborah Cain of 930 N. West End Blvd., said Thursday afternoon that she had spent two days hauling out the old sofas and other debris in front of her home, and she still isn't done. While it's a convenience she has appreciated over the years, she said she could understand why the city feels the need to eliminate it.

Mary Karraker of 20 S. Henderson said she doesn't know what she would have done if the city hadn't provided the pickup. Her children are grown now, and she has moved frequently over the past several years.

Getting rid of things"I got rid of washers and things that would be hard to get rid of if you don't have a truck or don't have a man," she said. "It's nice for people who have big things and don't have any way of getting rid of them."

Even though this is the last spring cleanup, Sander said she doesn't expect it to be any larger than previous years. People who use it have always used it, she said, and people who haven't used it before probably won't now.

Throughout the week the city will pick up old furniture, large appliances, and building materials. By law it cannot accept tires, batteries, motor oil, car parts, pesticides, paint, or any other hazardous materials.

And because the trucks can hold only so much weight, really heavy items like concrete, logs and railroad ties cannot be accepted.

Brush and yard waste must be kept separate from other trash. Limbs should be bundled, no more than four feet long and each bundle should weigh no more than 75 pounds. Grass, leaves, and other yard waste must be bagged. Bags of yard waste can be set out next to limbs, but both must be kept separate from other trash.

While some residents have already begun hauling their waste out to the curb, Sander said that the city prefers it not be brought out until 12 hours prior to pickup. Haulers will begin earlier than usual during the week to accommodate the extra loads.

335-6611, extension 160

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