The recycling center at the city maintenance building on Cedarfield Drive is to get a new look if recommendations of the operations committee are followed.

The collection site, which includes five dumpsters in front of the building, needs to be relocated behind the building setback, screened and equipped with cameras aimed at approaching vehicles.

Signs also are needed indicating hours, acceptable materials and the penalty for illegally dumping trash at the site.

The dumpsters were placed there to accept aluminum cans, cardboard, glass and plastic, as part of the city’s recycling program.

IESI, the city waste hauler, picks up the material, sells it on the commodities market, and splits the proceeds with the city. The entire amount of the city’s portion is passed through to the Tri-County Community Senior Center.

Since the program went into effect in 2010, the senior center has received $19,000 from the program. Mayor Jeff Palmore said the growing practice of trash dumping at the Cedarfield location leads him to question whether the collection site is cost-effective to the city.

Palmore asked the operations committee to meet and come up with a solution to the unsightly condition of the area around the dumpsters.

Aldermen Mike Bates, Steve Myers and Walter Arnette serve on the operations committee. The mayor also is a member.

The first order of business at the July 8 meeting was to elect Bates chair and Myers vice chair. City Clerk Kim Barfield serves as secretary to the committee.

Also present at the meeting were Aldermen Ed Gass and Carol Johnson, City Engineer Dan Rahn, City Attorney Matt Schroeder and several citizens.

“The first thing we have to do is to be legal,” Palmore said. “We’re violating our own codes. The dumpsters are sitting in the setback and they’re not screened. We require all businesses to screen their trash collection site.”

Illegal dumping of garbage and other waste, especially discarded mattresses, makes the area look like a trash dump, he said, and costs the city to have them taken to a landfill.

“If we’re getting $50 a month off the dumpsters and it’s costing us $200 a week to move trash, it’s not cost-effective,” Palmore said. “I don’t know if there is enough money from there to make it worthwhile.

In a 20-minute discussion, the committee identified several methods to deter illegal dumping.

Cameras could be placed in a location to capture the license number of vehicles delivering materials to the site.

“Instead of giving them a ticket, we could notify them to come and pick up the illegal material,” Arnette said. “If they don’t, then we could give them a ticket. Fines for dumping would help.”

Arnette also suggested placing one of the city’s reserve officers at the site for five nights and see if they can catch individuals who are dumping illegally.

Signs notifying patrons of the types of materials that qualify for recycling, the hours they can deliver items and the penalty for dumping trash would stop some illegal dumping, he said.

“The sign should state the greatest penalty,” Myers said. “Not the least penalty. It should be enough to get their attention.”

The steepest penalty for illegal dumping is a $500 fine and 90 days in jail, Gass said.

One suggestion was to move the dumpsters inside the maintenance facility fence. One drawback is the location of a car that was involved in a major crime, which the court says cannot be moved until the case appeal is concluded.

Gass said he believes the city could relocate the car within the compound. He suggested that the attorney contact the judge and ask whether the city can place the car on a flatbed and move it out of the area needed for the dumpsters, without opening the doors or touching any of the contents.

Resident Bob Masson suggested that someone investigate the possibility of more frequent pickups at the site.

“The key is to talk to the refuse company to see if they could increase their pickup,” Masson said. “Pacific is one of the biggest recycling sites for them. Also, wherever you hide them (the dumpsters) the hauler has to get in.

“If we’re not maintaining them because no one is watching that’s a different story,” he added. “But we need to contact the general manager and ask if they can pick up more often.”

Palmore capsulized the possible remedies, including moving the dumpsters, screening a chainlink fence, checking with IESE on increasing pickups, cameras aimed at the dumpsters, and signs listing dumping hours, what to dump and the penalty for illegal dumping.

Chairman Bates said all the ideas should be put together in a plan for the full board of aldermen to look at.

“Let’s ask our city engineer to draw up a plan to change all this and have something to bring to the full board,” Bates said.