UPDATED: City Council Changes Mind on Recycling Yard Waste

November 11, 2013 By:George Boehme

Local News


UPDATED: The City Council reversed course, and will NOT recycle yard waste.

UPDATED:  On Monday night, the West University City Council tentatively agreed to begin charging resident senior citizens a 50% discounted rate for the use of the West University Recreation Center and Colonial Park Pool.

The City Council also tentatively agreed to begin recycling yard waste on a trial basis. The council will review the policy after one year.

ORIGINAL STORY: At this evening’s bi-monthly regular meeting of the West University Place City Council, the council will discuss the consideration of new charges for residents 65 and older to use the Colonial Park Pool and the West University Recreation Center and expanding the city’s recycling program to include the mulching of yard clippings.

Tonight’s meeting of the West University Place City Council will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.

Currently West U residents 65 and older are allowed to use the pool and recreation center at no charge. The proposed fee is $60 annually for Colonial Park Pool and $144 annually for the recreation center.

The city recycled yard waste from 1994 to 2006. During that time, the city collected between 1,400 and 1,600 tons each year. Since 2006, yard waste has been diverted from the city’s recycling program and dumped in the landfill.

Yard waste, commonly referred to as green waste, is composed of grass, flower cuttings and hedge trimmings, as well as domestic and commercial food waste. The city stopped recycling yard waste because of cost.

Currently, West U’s recycling conversion rate is about 25% of total curbside pick-up. This is about 10% below the national average. By adding yard waste recycling, West U’s recycling conversion rate would be well above the national average and likely the highest in Texas.

The estimated annual cost of implementing recycling yard waste is about $125,000, which would cost residents about $2 a month.

Would you be willing to pay $2 a month to recycle your yard clippings instead of dumping them in the landfill

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26 Responses to “UPDATED: City Council Changes Mind on Recycling Yard Waste”

  1. Brokelyn Says:

    Joe — You made some great points. Can you attend Monday’s Council meeting at 6pm and bring this up for the record? It owuld be good to hear if the City Manager agrees or pushes back against your keen observation.

    If you go, please report back!

  2. miltonwatchdog Says:

    If it is true that Bellaire spent $30,000 more on a garbage truck by going with a chosen vendor, how much money could West U have saved by buying fire truck tires and/or tires for city vehicles at best quality and price? Likely the City Attorney and Council were fully aware, but the political machine did not investigate, nor regulate.

    Colonial Colonel, my neighbor has a beautiful dog. Her name is Mrs. Colonial Colonel.

  3. Joe Says:

    There are two ways to avoid a public bid for capital equipment. The city can skirt the traditional process through organizations such as Buyboard or HGAC which provides a wide range of expensive vehicles such as refuse trucks. The Director of Public Works could simply make their choice on whatever piece of equipment they wanted and present their singular choice the city council. Not telling them what was the cheapest, just the one they wanted! So in this case they never have to go with the lowest bid out there. In Bellaire they spent over $30,000 more going with who they wanted not what was the best for the city. If this kind of money can be saved buying a garbage truck just think what else can be saved buying other items to save money and we can help out the senior citizens without making everyone to pay for services.

  4. Brokelyn Says:

    Colonel–I get your point, but c’mon keep this civil.

    Milton–I get what you’re saying but representative government should represent the citizens so the citizens don’t have to do all the governing. If you have concerns that something illicit is happening then please provide evidence or cause, bring that up to the city attorney, and request an investigation. If you’re just afraid of what might be happening then seek out more evidence. Keep in mind that the added burden of opening all disbursements to bid, reporting on all disbursements, and dealing with all of the protests requires time and taxpayer money. Are you willing to put up the money necessary to start that effort (not knowing if there will indeed be a payback)? Are you will to slow down City activity due to increased red tape?

  5. miltonwatchdog Says:

    Agree with Joe. If we had oversight over City purchasing, the money saved would more than pay for every senior citizen to swim free. Leave the old folks alone, rich or poor, and monitor spending at City Hall. How much would we save if purchases over $25,000 required an open Request for Bid/Proposal, published responses and published results of bid opening. Curious purchases from favorite vendors may or may not be happening, but the taxpayers should know how our money is being spent, by whom and with whom.

    • Colonial Colonel Says:

      Miltonwatchdog sounds silly. He says, “Curious purchases from favorite vendors may or may not be happening, ” It is also true that Miltonwatchdog may or may not be having anal intercourse with their neighbor’s dog.

  6. Joe Says:

    The city is about to spend up to $200,000 for new equipment. What is the new equipment they are looking at buying? How does this new equipment go out to bid? Maybe we need to look at how we are spending our money in West U before raising fees on all other residents. Bellaire just bought a brand new garbage trucks and did not have to go out for bids.

  7. West U Resident for 70 years Says:

    No not really, but I did attend the council meeting last night. Regarding senior fees, everyone seems to have missed a major point that was made last night. Any senior that has a financial need simply needs to sign a single paragraph form saying that they have a need and they will not pay anything. No proof required. It will be based on the honor system and each individual’s own conscience. Not sure why anyone cares if millionaire seniors have to pay something as long as those in need don’t.

  8. West U Resident for 50 years Says:

    I agree with Tangley Resident, the yard waste problem in West U is a direct result of Obamacare. I can’t believe that people can’t see this.

  9. West U Resident Says:

    as a hypothetical: should a 65 year old CEO get in free and a young mom have to pay??

    I think asking Seniors to pay a discounted rate is more than fair.

    As for greed, I highly doubt the council is trying to line their coffers with $60/year. There are costs associated with maintaining these facilities and my guess is that current memberships are running short of covering them. I use both pools weekly, if not every day. The vast majority of people there are Seniors.

  10. Mardi Turner Says:

    Thanks to Council for approving the re-introduction of green waste recycling! I am happy to pay $2 a month to help the planet.

  11. Sonny Brandtner Says:

    The elderly in our community should not have to pay to use our pool. Although I support our council and Mayor, this is unbelievable. Most of the voters that put council back in public office were senior citizens. Now they a fee change against them.

    As I voiced in the election, we have big issues to focus on in our City, NOT term extensions and how we can get more money out of our seniors!

    With the constant increase in our property values, we should have enough money for our budget. Heck, we should be able to offset the property value increases with lower rates.


    Sonny Brandtner

  12. LHG Says:

    I am sure it must bother some who see wealthy older people who live with their wealthy children and their non-resident wealthy friends who don’t pay to use the nice facilities the city has to offer. There are still seniors living in your city who need the social interaction available to them and will be discouraged by fees. I remember when there were no organized groups in the city, other than the churches, that reached out to them and as a result there were some tragic and sad events. When I lived in West U, I understood that the city was aware of their older citizens so that in a city emergency, like a hurricane, etc. they could do welfare checks. Why not form a Senior Trust like the Tree Trust. I paid a lot of money into the Tree Trust. It would have been fine if I had been given the option to put the money into a Senior Trust. Such a trust could receive donations and provide qualified seniors an exemption to the fees.

  13. Bink 79 Says:

    All of the fees are too low. The pools and Recreation
    Center ate heavily subsidized by tax dollars. Silver
    Sneakers Program pays for one gym membership
    for over persons on Medicare. While I never
    use either facility and I am in my sixties, I pay
    a lot each month in my property tax for them,
    Seniors can afford $12:month.

  14. Frank Says:

    Shame on Council. Their day will come.

  15. Tangley Resident Says:

    I knew this would happen once the Dummocrats passed Obamacare.

    • Frank Says:

      Nothing to do with Obamacare. A lot to do with Republicans wanting to run government like a business for profit.

    • Jenny Says:

      Seriously? Our democracy is composed primarily of a 2 party system. We are Americans regardless if you vote Republican or Democrat. It is so disappointing that a topic cannot be discussed without someone attacking the politics of fellow Americans.

    • Chris Says:

      Haha, what?

  16. Penny Says:

    We are seniors and do not use either facility, however you should not charge seniors for either.

  17. Tom Says:

    As a 35-year resident of West University Place, I have been paying taxes for every one of those years. I think the city can continue to provide seniors with passes for the Rec Center and Colonial Park without getting greedy.

    • Frank Says:

      Thank you Tom for your comment. I am over 65 and use the facilities at no charge. Even though I could afford the $144 annually there are probably those that can’t, or to whom it would be a burden. I wonder what percentage of users are 65 and if it would really make that much difference on a facility of that type. You used the right word “greed”. This Council appears to forget at every turn that government has certain responsibilities to its citizens that don’t necessarily need to be always looked at with the same criteria as a business for profit. Governments at all levels are increasingly targeting the retired and the elderly as a source of revenue by cutting benefits. Benefits that are well earned after a lifetime of contributions.
      Most folks in your generation don’t seem to realize they will not be 35 all their life. They will reach the senior category sooner than expected. They will then feel first hand how it feels to be discarded, unneeded and/or targeted. Thank you for being an exception.

  18. Bink 79 Says:

    Our taxes subsidize the pools and recreation center. I pay $60 per month
    and never use either. No residents should pay for each use.

  19. robert foye Says:

    I have no problem as a senior paying for the rec center. I do and have a problem with long time users and friends now having to be accompanied by a resident- and a $10 fee each time. Many of these folks were swimming with me 15 years ago- the majority of older “water babies” then and now are right outside West U and should be given some kind of seasonal pass that allows them to come without being accompanied by a resident. There are many times there are only three or four people in the pool during adult swim. I cannot understand why having former users from surrounding neighborhoods would be a problem for West U. And they are willing to buy a pass, but are refused.

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