Lighting up Main Street is put on hold

Public Works Committee talks trash pickup

The proposed lightning up of Main Street will not happen this year, so says Mayor Pat Taylor after a meeting with Town and Highlands Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Center staff on Monday.

“They are rethinking the concept for possible future consideration,” said Taylor. At July’s Town Board meeting Chamber representatives proposed wrapping trees with lights on Main Street from 3rd to 5th streets October – April to add a more welcoming atmosphere for visitors arriving in town after dark.

Taylor said there were no votes of support for the project based on the proposal last month.

Chamber Board Chair Hilary Wilkes said they will continue to look into the idea.

“We are hopeful that with more research and a few trials we will come up with an acceptable lighting proposal for downtown trees during the darker fall and winter months and we are grateful to the Town Board and town staff for allowing us to get the conversation started,” said Wilkes. “We had a great meeting with the Mayor and town staff Monday and look forward to doing more due diligence together.”

Public Works Committee discusses trash pickup amendments

The lighting proposal was potentially a large topic at the Public Works meeting on Tuesday, but instead discussion focused on beefing up the town’s current trash pickup requirements. 

Since installing bear-proof trash containers downtown, Committee members agreed that bear interactions have decreased. Bear-resistant toters for commercial customers have been ordered and are due to arrive in October, said Town Engineer Lamar Nix. “The next step is firm up policy in the residential areas.”

Amendments discussed to current residential trash pickup procedures included requiring town customers to purchase a bear-resistant container no more than 100 gallons in size. The container must have wheels and a bar so it can be mechanically lifted by a garbage truck.

It was suggested that residents could also house containers in an enclosed bear-resistant structure but it must be accessible from a side so receptacles can be rolled out, as opposed to being lifted out.

“I think if they have the proper containers at these places, trash pickup will be a lot easier,” said Town Manager Josh Ward.

Other changes in the works include rules about loose trash bags placed on the side of the road. They would no longer be picked up and if a bear creates a mess with a resident’s garbage, it will be the owner’s responsibility to clean it up.

Nix said bear-resistant containers can be purchased at Reeves Hardware in Highlands or any other home supply store. At Reeves a 64-gallon toter is $229.99 and a 96-gallon toter is $239.99. He said if the town were to purchase bear-resistant toters to rent to the 2,500 residential trash customers, it would cost the town about $800,000.

Committee members discussed the civil penalty for violations and repeat offenders and felt $250 would be enough to deter violations.

Deadline to make change

The suggested deadline for commercial customers to have bear-resistant toters up and running is Jan. 1, 2020. The proposed deadline for residential customers to meet requirements is Aug. 1, 2020.

What’s the next step

The Public Works Committee will meet again at 8 a.m. on Aug. 20 in Town Hall to review the changes to the solid waste management ordinance and make its recommendations to the Board of Commissioners at this month’s meeting on Aug. 22.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday’s Public Works meeting is allowing residents to access to town water through annexation.

Pictured at the top of the article are bear-resistant trash receptacles available on the Plateau.

Article by Brian O’Shea
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