Curbside opt-out

Bismarck Public Works Director Jeff Heintz expects no surprises in the number of people who will choose to not participate the city’s curbside recycling program. Residents have until late May to notify the city if they do not want to participate and pay an extra garbage fee, he said.

To date, he said about 1,400 opt-out forms have been returned to the city. There some 16,500 households the city collects garbage from, according to Heintz.

“So far, we’re in the ballpark of people opting out,” he said Tuesday afternoon by phone. “Right now, it’s at about 8 percent.”

The opt-out forms, intended for use for those who would experience a hardship or lack space for the 96-gallon bins, were sent out with the city’s April water and garbage bills.

The city’s motion to allow the opt-out did not specify that that residents had to have a hardship or no room for the recycling bins. Heintz said the city is relying on an honor system from residents to not pay the extra $3.81 per month fee.

With the fee, their recyclable materials will be collected every two weeks on the same day their residential garbage is picked up, but in separate containers.

Heintz hopes to start the separate curbside garbage collection by late summer or early fall, using favored contractor Waste Management to pick up and process items that can be recycled.

Home rule charter commission

The Morton County Commission is seeking applicants to serve on the Morton County Home Rule Charter Commission. Applications will be taken through May 10. Commissioners hope to choose its members at the May 14 county commission meeting.

The Home Rule Charter Commission will be responsible for drafting a home rule charter for Morton County. The home rule charter may be used to propose a sales tax to pay for either an expanded jail in Morton County or to help build a new jail with Burleigh County in Bismarck.

Morton County Commission Chairman Bruce Strinden said Burleigh and Morton counties intend to hold separate home rule charter elections, but both would be on June 10, 2014, during the primary elections.

If voters allow a home rule charter, they also may decide separately to create a short-term sales tax to pay for either a jail expansion in Mandan or to build a new jail with Burleigh County. Burleigh County has estimated a combined new jail could be paid for in less than seven years with a half-penny sales tax. County commissioners favor a sales tax because the cost is spread out among all people who buy from retail. They would not have to raise property taxes to pay for the jail

The charter commission will hold at least one public hearing on the proposed charter. Commission members will submit the charter to the county commission by one year after they are appointed.

The application for home rule charter commission can be found by visiting the application to: Dawn R Rhone, Morton County Auditor, 210 2nd Ave. N.W., Mandan, N.D. 58554

For more information about the home rule charter commission, call Rhone at 667-3300.

(Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or

Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or