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De Pere council approves continued trash takeout

By Lee Reinsch

DE PERE – For a little while longer, De Pere residents who have bulky waste/trash items too large to fit in a bin will not have to purchase special tags in order for their garbage to be collected by city crews outside of scheduled overflow trash weeks.

Earlier this year, in an effort to help residents stay at home during the pandemic, the City of De Pere suspended the requirement for residents to purchase special tags.

If the De Pere Common Council had passed the reversal of the hiatus at the Tuesday, Dec. 15 meeting, the city would have returned to pre-pandemic trash policies.

However, Alder Dan Carpenter questioned the sense of the move.

“Why are we phasing out something like this when we still have a pandemic going on?” he said.

City Public Works Director Scott Thoresen said safety concerns for city workers during winter months drove the proposition.

On average, city crews make 40 to 50 stops per day for overflow trash, with each driver getting out of their truck seven times, he said.

“It’s not a problem most of the year, but during winter months it is,” Thoresen said. “We were trying to mitigate the risk.”

Alder Dean Raasch said merely purchasing the bulky waste tags doesn’t make the crews any safer.

“If they still have to make those seven stops, you haven’t done anything different,” Raasch said.

In other words, the bulky trash is still there, and the crews still need to load it by hand.

All but two alders, Jonathon Hanson and Shana Defnet Ledvina, voted against the move to end the suspension of fees.

Dry hydrants greenlighted

The council unanimously passed a resolution to grant permission to De Pere Fire Rescue to install two dry fire hydrants on property owned by Ahlstrom-Munksjo Nicolet, 200 Main Ave.

Dry fire hydrants use water directly pulled from a body of water, such as the Fox River.

They can pump 1,500 to 2,000 gallons per minute.

De Pere Fire Rescue had been awarded a match grant for the project, but was not able to meet its benchmark timetable for installation this past year.

Fire Chief Alan Matzke said the department will be able to do two hydrants for less than the amount of money they had previously budgeted, $7,480, even without the grant money.

“We have a unique opportunity with Michels Construction working in the area, and they’ll allow us to use their barge as a work platform,” Matzke said. “That will reduce the cost of the install, by being able to utilize their equipment.”

Matzke said he hopes to get the dry hydrants installed on the east side of the river, too.

Drying out the VFW diamond

The board voted unanimously to go ahead with field renovations at the VFW Park softball field.

The board approved signing a contract for just over $37,000 with Midwest Athletic Fields for renovation work at the VFW softball field.

Drainage issues have long vexed the field.

Safety measures

The board voted to accept a bid for $53,377 by Elmstar Electric Corporation of Kaukauna for security cameras.

The cameras will be focused on city buildings and Art Alley, De Pere’s outdoor art gallery, in the 100 block of Main Ave.

Sculptures of flamingos and other artwork were the target of vandals several times.

Passes reallocated

In the name of cheering up a few people in need during the long pandemic, the board also approved setting aside five family swimming pool passes to be used for special events other than swimming next year.

Each year the city and parks department set aside a handful of pool passes for families in need.

This year, five of those passes can be used by families for other events.

A few of the events in the works include a snowman competition and virtual 5K run/walk.

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