By Jeff Gallatin
Mayor Kevin Kennedy said Feb. 3 he is still mulling how to handle a trash collection program for the Cinnamon Woods development for the service it has been getting done by city contractors for years.
More than 30 people attended a Jan. 31 meeting of the North Olmsted City Council’s Environmental Control Committee to discuss the issue. The meeting was moved to the City Council chambers from the council caucus room, which normally hosts council committee meetings. Both city officials and some residents spoke about the Cinnamon Woods situation, even though the meeting was more about fine-tuning the city trash and recycling regulations to bring them up to date with the new automated trash and recycling program instituted by North Olmsted last year.
Committee Chairman Paul Schumann and city officials moved the meeting and had some development residents notified about the meeting after they became aware of the concerns about the trash pickup.
North Olmsted city codes prohibit city contractors from picking up trash in private developments with private or nondedicated streets. However, the city contractors have been picking up trash in Cinnamon Woods for many years. City officials and many residents said they have been unable to find any documentation as to why Cinnamon Woods residents have had their trash picked up by the city contractors when other developments have not had it handled by the city. Other developments with private or nondedicated streets usually have to negotiate deals to have their trash taken care of.
Kennedy said Friday he’s still reviewing information about the situation and doesn’t have a specific time frame for a final decision.
“I haven’t made any decision yet,” he said. “There’s a lot to it. I want to make sure I consider all the issues involved.”
Kennedy said he’s aware of the different perceptions about the situation.
“I have a fiduciary responsibility to the city and residents to make sure things are handled properly,” he said.
Dave Dillon, one of the Cinnamon Woods residents who spoke at the meeting, said they’re aware that there is a lot involved, but they would like a fair decision.
‘The mayor is the chief officer of the city and has to make sure the laws of the city are followed,” he said Friday. “I’m sure that many of the people who attended the meeting expect him to say that we’re going to have to pay for the service at some point.”
Another resident noted that there was a problem with the property tax collection in the Cinnamon Woods development for several years since a portion of the development is in the Olmsted Falls school district. County tax officials began working on rectifying the problem two years ago with the North Olmsted and Olmsted Falls school districts.
Kennedy has noted that development residents do receive police and fire protection from the city. He said if the decision is made to have Cinnamon Woods pay for service from a trash contractor, he would talk to the contractor and make sure they are not paying excessive rates.
Some of the people at the meeting predicted North Olmsted would eventually charge residents a trash fee like other cities. Currently North Olmsted has a special fund for the trash program, which is largely funded by income tax receipts, although it has been subsidized by general fund money.
Kennedy had figures and information breaking down how the city gets different funds, which he offered to the development residents, with some taking it.
A few residents from the Viewpoint development spoke about the issues, noting they have had to follow the city laws and contract for their own service. Some expressed dissatisfaction that Cinnamon Woods has had the city pickup for many years.
Schumann said later the city is working on finding the best solution possible.
‘I’m glad the mayor is putting a lot of thought into it,” he said. “It’s a gut decision that I think he should take whatever time he needs to reach a fair solution in this.”