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Aldermen to discuss curbside recycling

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The next step toward implementation of curbside recycling in Ruston and part of Lincoln Parish could come Monday if a member of the Board of Aldermen agrees to introduce an ordinance changing the city’s garbage, weeds and trash ordinance.

Introduction of the ordinance, which also sets collection fees and rolls back to one day a week garbage pick inside the city, is among the items on the board’s regular meeting agenda.

The meeting convenes at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall and is open to the public.

Other agenda items include:

• A request to seek permission from the Louisiana Bond Commission to issue up to $34 million in bonds for transportation projects along Interstate 20;

• A call for final authorization allowing the city to exchange a former church property it owns on U.S. 167 North for land owned south of town by the Louisiana Methodist Children Home. The swap, if approved, would give the city additional acreage for development of a sports complex.

• Consideration of a resolution that would start Phase I of the Rock Island Greenway Project cycling and pedestrian path. Phase I goes from West Kentucky Avenue to the Interstate-20 service road and will cost approximately $132,650 to build. The greenway runs down the bed for the now defunct Rock Island Railroad.

Under the pending changes in the garbage, weeds and trash ordinance, residential garbage would be picked up once a week and residential recycling twice a month.

The ordinance also imposes a $25 fine if curbside garbage or recycling containers remain on the street 24 hours after being emptied. Customers would receive two written warnings prior to imposition of the fine.

The ordinance sets residential recycling pickup at $10 per month for customers both inside and outside the city. Pickup will be available to parish residents who live within a three-mile radius of Ruston.

Those same parish residents can pay an additional $15 per month and have Ruston pick up their household garbage, too.

As to yard debris, city customers will have a choice of getting a large, free debris bag and being allowed two pickups per month, or foregoing the bag and getting once-a-month trash pickup.

If the ordinance is introduced — which is almost certain — it will be voted on during the board’s Dec. 19 meeting. If approved then, the changes become effective Jan. 1.

As to the bond request, Mayor Ronny Walker said he wants to ask the Bond Commission for authority to sell the bonds as needed.

“We’re not going to sell any bonds until a project comes up. So it’s kind of like getting a line of credit,” he said.

All of the projects are within the city’s Tax Increment District, and, in the end, wouldn’t cost taxpayers additional money, Walker said. That’s because the portion of state sales tax the city receives from the TID would equal the payment on the $34 million over a 16-year-period — the same number of years that are left in the TID’s existence.

If aldermen grant permission to make the bond request, and the bond commission approves it during their December meeting, the first project on the city’s list would be extending the I-20 service road from Louisiana Hwy. 33 to Rough Edge Road, Walker said. Cost of the project would be about $10 million.

Other projects on the list include about $2.5 million for construction engineering inspection on Tarbutton Road, widening the service roads adjacent to the Cooktown Road overpass — that project is already underway, connecting the new Rough Edge service road to U.S. 167 north and building a southeast I-20 service road.

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