The College Park City Council discussed city trash pickups and the Good Neighbor Award, among other agenda items, at its weekly meeting Tuesday night. Here's a roundup of their discussions.
Assistant directors of the city's Department of Public Works, Brenda Alexander and Robert Marsili, gave a presentation to the council on bulk trash pickups.
The City of College Park provides bulk trash pickups at no cost to residents for most items, who can call 24 hours in advance for a pickup on any Thursday or Friday, though this service costs the city more than $373,000 annually, according to the presentation. Electronic pickups alone cost the city about $1,600 per ton or about $48,000 annually.
"All over the city … we have examples of where a property will call up every few weeks and they put out an appliance and we know since it's a single-family home there aren't that many appliances coming out of that home," City Manager Scott Somers said. "So I think word has gotten out in Beltsville and other communities that College Park will pick up your stuff for free."
District 3 Councilman John Rigg described residents' high regards for the department.
"Our residents know it, our residents appreciate it, our residents brag about it to members of other jurisdictions," he said of the department's services.
Some council members were hesitant to limit pickups or impose a fee for residents. District 2 Councilman P.J. Brennan warned that implementing construction materials pickup fee may cause residents to attempt to bury the materials in their yards, but praised the department's operations.
"The operation, the timing, the scheduling is incredibly impressive and most of us get to come home at the end of the day to a nice, quiet and beautiful community as a result of your work."
Unlike Brennan, District 2 Councilman Monroe Dennis had no qualms about introducing a fee, saying that "there are sometimes abuses to our system."
"I'm for taking the hard stance early rather than taking baby steps and having to try to come back later and fix something we're trying to do," he said.
Good Neighbor Award
The annual Good Neighbor Award would recognize a student "who serves as a model to demonstrate that students do wonderful work in our city in many areas," Brennan said, adding that his time on council has allowed him to see various ways in which students contribute to the community.
"There are some areas where students are involved that they're highly visible and I've heard other stories where we don't realize where students are impacting parts of our neighborhood," he said.
He gave examples of students providing vet tech services and going to senior facilities during the holiday season to give choral and instrumental performances.
District 3 Councilman Robert Day cautioned against excluding College Park residents who are students at universities aside from the University of Maryland.
"Some would see that as saying students who don't go to the University of Maryland cannot be good neighbors," he said.
Student liaison Chris Keosian said this university "does not have a monopoly on good students and there are good people all over our city," adding that it's a great way to encourage unity in the city.
Dennis, Rigg and District 4 Councilwoman Dustyn Kujawa volunteered to be on the committee for the award.
District 1 Councilman Fazlul Kabir announced that the co-director of the College Park Community Library, Elaine Stillwell, died on March 31. She'd been at the volunteer-run library since the very beginning, he said, and praised her hard work.
"I'm still shocked that she passed away," Kabir said. "She will be sorely missed."
Stillwell taught English classes focusing on conversation and language development at the library for non-native speakers.
"She did a lot for the community," Mayor Patrick Wojahn said.