Breakthrough Web Design - 515-897-1144 - Web sites for businesses
News & Entertainment for Mason City, Clear Lake & the Entire North Iowa Region

Founded October 1, 2010

Council puts sanitation controversy to rest – for now

This news story was published on September 26, 2012.
Advertise on NIT Subscribe to NIT

Council member Scott Tornquist finishes his explanation on why the City abandoned its pursuit of privatizing sanitation services.

by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – Following a public backlash and no valid bids being submitted from private companies, the Mason City Council and Mayor Bookmeyer finally laid the sanitation controversy to rest on Tuesday, for the time being.

City Council member Scott Tornquist said at Tuesday’s work session that the idea of privatizing the city’s sanitation department is no longer “worth messing around with.”

The Mayor and Council had been focused in on the sanitation department since early this spring as part of their “managed competition” agenda. Managed competition may be defined as: “Managed competition provides a structured, transparent process that allows an open and fair comparison of public sector employees and independent contractors in their ability to deliver services to citizens.”

Council member Alex Kuhn, against the idea from the start,  re-iterated his stand Tuesday.

“I’ve talked a lot about this issue, I’ve talked till I’m blue in the face about it,” he said.  “I think these gentlemen (the sanitation department workers) continue to always look for efficiencies and improvements.  All those affects… of bringing someone else in… there’s many, many more negative affects, in my mind.”

Council member John Lee said “I’m looking forward to putting this to an end and stopping some of these phone calls.”

The mayor and council had directed city staff to solicit RFP’s (Requests for Proposals) for its sanitation services but received no valid bids from the four companies they contacted.  One company who responded with a letter, Waste Management, told City Hall that “It is clear that the Council does not have an appetite for seriously moving forward with this issue and is content with the status quo.”

The City’s sanitation department was not asked to submit a bid.

Moving forward, the process was called “healthy” and the Council seemed to agree that the issue may need to be addressed in the future, mainly due to insurance costs for employees and fuel costs that continue to escalate.

City Administrator Brent Trout said he has been in contact with the City Hall in Fort Dodge, Iowa about changes that city is making to their waste pick-up.

“There are changes that are occurring in the way sanitation is handled,” Trout explained.  “They (Fort Dodge) actually made the decision they are going to that kind of a system (one driver in a truck with a mechanical arm) very soon.”

Watch discussion:


Need help with your website?
Call your local professional,
Breakthrough Web Design:
or go to

Leave a Reply to LVS Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

 characters available

29 Responses to Council puts sanitation controversy to rest – for now

  1. Observer Reply Report comment

    September 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    “Here is an idea worth thinking about…doing away with the Police department and having a citizens police force…”

    Oh? I find it hard to believe that the Mayor and Council missed this avenue of “Managed Competition”. Let’s get bids and find the cheapest provider. We could spend six months tossing the idea about.

    Lawsteward, call Mr. Trout and get that put on the agenda for next week. In the mean time, let us see what else we can bid out in City government. I bet that some company in China could out-bid anyone. Move the 9-11 center to Bombay! Gosh the ideas are limitless!

  2. Lawsteward Reply Report comment

    September 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    First it was all the time and money spent trying to stuff the “concert/sport complex” down our throats! Then it was the council trying to stuff the idea that the “city” would be better off with privatizing the garbage pick-up. Suddenly both “council” ideas have been scrapped because the “council” has decided both ideas aren’t the way to go…I am thinking that Councilman Lee has the right explanation…they are finally “hearing” from the public and he is tired of “getting the phone calls”! Had you “listened” in the first place to the public, you (the council) wouldn’t have wasted your own time and the public’s in bringing this crap up in the first place! Here is an idea worth thinking about…doing away with the Police department and having a citizens police force…I understand there are several persons in the 9th and N Federal area that have their own guns…come on Janet & Scott, what do you think???

  3. LVS Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Time to replace everyone on the council.

  4. TAXPAYER Reply Report comment

    September 27, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Keep the sanitation dept. Get rid of Solberg !

    • poop Reply Report comment

      September 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Didn’t vote for her last time and won’t next time around. She is such a ditz!!!

  5. My Voice Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Holy Shit! Is that Jean in the video??? The lost has been found but alas is still lost?!

    I wonder if she got my voice mail. I couldn’t resist. Lol.

  6. Mason City Resident Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Shame on the council in it’s pathetic attempt to get rid of some of the last good paying jobs within this community! Remember your job is to create good paying jobs or jobs period-not get rid of them.

  7. Limber Larry Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    What I can’t figure out is how long this took from start to finish. What 6,7,8 months ? Now think if you didn’t know what your future was with your company for that long, would you have a job or not? I would like to put a couple of the councilmen or councilwomen in a situation similar to this. Furthermore I don’t think they care about the strain it put of these workers.

  8. Sandy servantez Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I don’t believe for one minute that some of the council members were doing this for the betterment of M.C. I think it was personal reasons. I personally want to say to the city workers I am very happy you kept your jobs and you do a great job!! By the way I am writing this on my new iPod know wonder the council wanted these, it is awesome! Wonder which games they will be downloading?

    • matt Reply Report comment

      September 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Sandy, please….no wonder, not know wonder. If you want to run for council, you’re going to have to do better than that. Sorry.

      • sandy servantez Reply Report comment

        September 27, 2012 at 9:12 am

        sorry I’ll proof read it before I send it next time!

    • Confused Reply Report comment

      September 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Sandy, do you really mean iPod? I thought iPods were for downloading music and listening. My iPad sure beats a computer. Now which are you posting on?

  9. WD 80 Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I feel so sorry for our sanitation workers, that they had to go through all this. They do a great job and earn every penny they make. I wish the mayor and some of the council memebers would try their for just and hour or two. I think this would shut them up forever. Also thanks to Alex Kuhn, for his common sense stand on this issue.

  10. poop Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Solberg just needs to stop talking! she makes me wanna throw up! you have done nothing for this city and you obvious dont give a shit about the 4th ward cause you never respond to anyones emails!

    • My Voice Reply Report comment

      September 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      What do you expect? She is truly an idiot.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        September 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm

        How many times has she sued the city so far?

    • sharmie Reply Report comment

      September 27, 2012 at 12:20 am

      Solberg is clueless. She knows nothing of the sanitation department and how it works and where the $9.60 goes. She’s been on the council how long and is still lost. A true disgrace to the 4th ward.

  11. Joe Bohl Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    As President of AFSCME Local 1367 representing the employees from the sanitation department we would like to thank everyone who contacted their city council members and spoke against this move. It was great to see in the end not one private company able to perform all the services that we currently provide at a cheaper rate.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      I appreciate all the great work the sanitation department does! I saw a sanitation worker today and expressed my appreciation to him. I also want to say I contacted EVERY council person along with Trout and Bookmeyer and Alex Kuhn was the ONLY one to respond back to me on this matter.
      The fact that he was the only one to take the time to get back to me shows me our council doesn’t give a hoot about the people that live in this community.
      Also, if the city is really serious about saving money, then why on earth did they spend 40 grand on the horrible statues? I know 10 year olds that can sculpt with play-doh better than what we have downtown!

    • John Reply Report comment

      September 26, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      No…Thank you Joe and all the city sanitation workers for doing a good job at a fair price. I am sorry that you all had to put up with Mr. Trout’s, the mayor’s and most of the council’s insulting folly. Let’s get organized to vote these bums out!

  12. blog Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    This is the workings of a deadbeat who hates labor. They used to say get a job max but is should be get a job bookmeyer and you might then appreciate those who work.

  13. Peter Children Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    If this city was serious about actually saving money instead of staging this on going side show, they would have voted no on the statutes and the 70K for moving Eric’s desk. This wasn’t just a bad idea it was a bad joke…and a sick one at that.

    • Buzz Crumcutter Reply Report comment

      September 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      When you are mayor, you can un-do all these past wrongs. Looking forward to your administration.

      • Katie Reply Report comment

        September 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm

        Seriously. You do not want someone as mayor who does not know the difference between a statute and a statue.

      • Ed Harley Reply Report comment

        September 28, 2012 at 12:18 am

        Yes, the administration of Peter Children!!! If he doesn’t run, I’m voting for Matt!!!

  14. anon Reply Report comment

    September 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    A business would look to reduce the largest costs that it has so as to provide the best resolve for cost cutting. This attempt to bottom feed the system shows how the city is not looking out for our interests. They should start with the most expensive costs and work down. Outsourcing the police and fire departments would save huge amounts for tax payers. Do you think the counsel would consider this????

    • Mason City Bystander Reply Report comment

      September 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      I agree, not with the police or fire depts., but with the “mismanagement” this city is under. Lets do a RFP on Trout. He is the highest paid administrator this city has ever had and he has less responsibility then the previous ones. The population really hasn’t increased, there are a lot less high paying jobs and employers in this city, and there are fewer city employees to micromanage. He gets paid $146,000 plus benefits and he hires outsiders at another added expense to you and I, to do what he is hired to take care of. At the last work session, when asked, he said he could have all the figures for this sanitation RFP in eight hours, up until then it took him eight months. Is that really being efficient or ‘lean’ at your job. I know cities of similar size and even some larger ones that have administrators making less money and doing a better job than ours. I hope the council does a RFP on him because as tax payers we are not getting what we are paying for.

      • John Reply Report comment

        September 26, 2012 at 11:13 pm

        DITTO! Fire Mr. Trout and VOTE the Bums out!!!

      • anon Reply Report comment

        September 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm

        Every part of the city expenditure should be involved in cost containment. Especially the police and fire departments. They are the largest expense and need to justify their reason for assistance!