Peoria recycling plan: Alley pickups once a month

PEORIA — The Peoria City Council approved an interim plan Tuesday that will send recycling pickups back to the alleys and in the city's older neighborhoods — back to once a month.

That will only affect 2,400 households. Meanwhile, the rest of the city will have recycling materials picked up every two weeks at their curb.

At Large Councilman Zach Oyler's motion allows for an analysis of the financial impact of alley service and trash carts made by July 1.

"That's when we can make a fiscally prudent decision on whether to stay at once a month in the alley or pay for twice a month in the alley," said Oyler, whose motion passed by a 6-4 margin. Voting no were Chuck Grayeb, Beth Jensen, Beth Akeson and Denis Cyr.

The council scrapped the three options the city had proposed: reverting to one monthly pickup in the alleys permanently, paying an additional $210,000 to PDC, the company the city contracts with to collect its garbage, or reducing parts of PDC's contracted service to maintain alley pickups every two weeks.

Grayeb, the Second District Councilman, chided the council for failing to pay attention to details in the contract approved with PDC last year. "I'm not upset with PDC — they're business people. We weren't," he said.

At one point in the discussion, Matt Coulter, PDC's vice president, suggested another option: keep the every-two-week pickup schedule city-wide except for the 282 exceptions that have been granted, households who get to keep their garbage carts in the alley. Everyone else would have recycling picked up at the curb. But the council didn't go for that.

A number of citizens who spoke at the meeting didn't like the council's decision. Conrad Stinnett, president of the West Bluff Council, said West Bluff residents were upset over the situation, suggesting poor communications led to confusion on where the recycling container belonged.

"You have the power to dictate on the matter of alley pickups. I hope you will exercise that power. Our heritage neighborhoods have had good service in the alleys," he said.

Eric Pollitt, a resident of the Third District, also said alleys were more convenient for many people and actually worked more efficiently than curbside pickups in areas where streets are narrow and lined with cars. "We like our alleys. We should keep them and use them," he said.

Council members also held a policy session on tax increment financing districts that raised a number of questions such as when to close out a TIF district.

Citizens Karrie Alms and Joyce Blumenshine both suggested closing the River Trail TIF this year instead of waiting for it to lapse in 2020 while Dan Walther, a member of the Peoria Public Schools board, addressed the council with a request.

"We ask that you be more collaborative with us when making decisions on TIF districts. As the largest taxing body in the city, we just want to be part of the discussion," he said.