Niles waste collection ordinance will go to a committee for review

NILES, Mich. -

On Monday the Niles City Council decided to send the proposed trash ordinance to a committee for review.

Currently residents can choose between three garbage collection services and opt out of trash pick-up all together. The new ordinance proposes a city contract with one garbage collection service, all residents would be required to sign up.

Dozens of residents came to the council meeting to speak out against the new ordinance. The meeting room reached capacity, but many residents were willing to wait outside for their turn to oppose the ordinance.

Those advocating for the ordinance say it will save residents money and make things easier on code enforcement.

Henry Valkema, owner of Michiana Recycling and Disposal Services, serves thousands of customers in Niles.

"You don't take away the freedom of choice from the many to solve the issues of the few. I believe people are smart enough, they don’t need their local government telling them who they need to pick up their trash,” said Valkema.

Michiana Recycling and Disposal Services is located in Niles, employing almost two hundred people.

If the ordinance passes and they don’t get the bid, Valkema says they will lose thousands of customers and ultimately may have to cut positions.

“That money is earned here; honestly, it’s being kept here in the community. That’s what makes everything go round. That’s what makes Niles, Niles,” said resident Joe Pena.

After such a large turnout the council decided they will hold public hearings to gather input.

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