City denies third garbage hauler a license
In a 4-1 vote, the Wadena City Council denied a refuse collection license to Nick Davis of City Sanitary Service based out of Park Rapids.
The motion by council member Toby Pierce was supported by Mayor Wayne Wolden and council members Jeanette Baymler and Kay Browne, with council member Don Niles voting no.
Pierce cited a lack of complaint about the two existing garbage haulers and concern that the local market would not support three haulers.
Wolden said there was the public safety issue of having extra trucks in alleys.
Davis asked if the issue could be put to a public vote.
"That's why they elect us," Wolden said.
"It's a hard question, because on one hand you have the values of competition ... I certainly like the idea of small businesses and entrepreneurial types coming into the town," Niles said, adding that there was a risk that only the largest company would be left at the end.
Davis said he already had several customers signed up for City Sanitary's refuse collection service, since at the time he had not realized the need for a license.
Wolden said that with two garbage haulers in town, dividing the market into three pieces might eliminate one or two businesses.
The two current businesses are City Dray, with owner John Herr present at the meeting, and Waste Management.
City attorney Jeff Pederson said the city has an ordinance allowing them to set the number of haulers.
Council member Jeanette Baymler said that if two garbage haulers were enough, the city should make an ordinance of it.
City Administrator Brad Swenson said he had a good word about City Sanitary Service from the city of Park Rapids and the city of Menahga, but that he did not have other references provided.
Davis said he was unaware that he needed to provide references.
Afterward, Baymler said the council should have set a garbage haul ordinance limiting the number of haulers.