DEBATE TONIGHT: Garbage Collection Outsourcing, New Parkland Purchases, Recycling Yard Waste to Be Topics

Tonight will be the second of two West U City Council candidate debates.

The debate discussions will focus on questions about the outsourcing of trash collection, the possible purchase of more parkland and how to pay for it, and the possible recycling of yard waste.

There are eight candidates running for four city council positions. Former elected officials running for one of the four city council spots are former Mayors Burt Ballanfant and Bob Kelly, and former councilmember and Mayor Pro-Tem Steven Segal. The other candidates are Bruce Beneke, Sonny Brandtner, Brennan Reilly, Mardi Turner and Philip J. Snyder.

The forum is from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the West U Community Center, 6104 Auden. Refreshments, snacks and fellowship will follow the event.

Outsourcing of trash collection and other functions of the Public Works Department

Several of the candidates have said that the city council should study the “cost savings that might be realized by outsourcing and not rebuilding” the Public Works Maintenance Facility. Others feel that the cost may be similar but it would have a negative effect on city services to the residents.

Purchase of more parkland

For more than a decade, several of the candidates have been advocates for acquisition of the “Ownby tract” for parkland. This tract includes 38,553 square feet of real estate where Pittsburg terminates at Poor Farm Ditch. The two lots, 3615 Pittsburg and 3619 Pittsburg, have been for sale for $3.6 million. The overall cost of the land acquisition and capital development of this proposed park could be between $7-$10 million

Recycling of yard waste (or green waste)

West U used to recycle yard waste but stopped about a decade ago. Yard waste, commonly called green waste, is composed of grass, flower cuttings and hedge trimmings. The city stopped recycling yard waste because of cost. Most cities in our area (including Bellaire and Houston) recycle their yard waste. The possibility of re-establishing a yard waste recycling program will be discussed on Monday night.