CLINTON — Although still working on ideas to fix the trash problem created by the annual Apple n’ Pork Festival, council members tend to agree with commissioner Nan Crang — Center Street should be as clean on the Monday morning after the festival as it is before it begins.
Council members began earlier this month addressing the trash problem created by the festival and continued discussion during Monday’s meeting.
The official Apple n’ Pork Festival takes place on the grounds of the C.H. Moore Homestead / DeWitt County Museum, but the City of Clinton permits residents to rent space to vendors during the festival along N. Center Street from Woodlawn Street south to Mr. Lincoln’s Square. And, it is the trash created along this stretch of Center Street that causes a problem for the city.
City administrator Tim Followell felt, and the consensus among commissioners, was that the bulk of the trash problem is created by the vendors who rent space at private residences and not caused by festival visitors.
In some cases, the problem the city faced in 2016 involved vendors filling available dumpsters before the festival even began. One vendor managed to fill a dumpster immediately after setting up, which would have meant that the first hours of the festival on the opening Saturday would have had one less dumpster available for visitors to use. Followell said Area Disposal helped the city out and replaced the full dumpster.
Crang felt that any trash created by vendors renting space from homeowners should be handled by those parties and not be the responsibility of the city. The city contracts with Area Disposal to provide trash receptacles for festival visitors.
Commissioner Tom Edmunds felt that, if there were a way to quantify the amount of trash vendors were dumping into the available receptacles, primarily dumpsters, the city could increase the vendor fees to homeowners accordingly.
Edmunds said the fee structure would probably need to be tiered, depending upon the type of vendor.
Crang, however, felt it should not be the responsibility of the city in any case.
“I think it should fall back on the homeowners,” Crang said.
Commissioner John Wise said that it wasn’t only trash and cardboard left behind by vendors but that food vendors also leave behind their used cooking oil, much of it in five gallon containers.
Followell repeated what he had pointed out during the council’s Mar. 6 meeting — that homeowners already were in touch with vendors for the 2017 festival and it was too late to implement new rules for this year.
Crang, however, disagreed, saying she did not think it was too late.
Followell said he would send letters to homeowners along Center Street inviting them to the April 3 council meeting to help solve the problem.
The last time the city made that offer, only two people showed up to the meeting.