Arvada City Council honors judge, faces backlash from residents on trash hauling contract
Arvada City Council met for a business meeting on Monday March 1st. At the meeting, Judge Michael Matassa was recognized for his efforts to keep the courts running smoothly during the coronavirus pandemic. A number of Arvadans spoke out against the city’s controversial rubbish from the transport contract.
The first task on the minutes of the meeting was to honor Judge Michael Matassa, the interim chairman of the Arvada District Court. Matassa served on the bench at Arvada Court for 35 years and was appointed interim presiding judge in January. 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the pandemic, Matassa conducted virtual court trials and litigation to keep the court effective. He also helped set up the Judge Mentorship Program, an alternative sentencing option that allows juvenile defendants to meet with a judge for positive adult care.
Matassa, a longtime Arvada resident, said he never expected to be recognized by the city council.
“I came to Arvada when I was 15 and lived in Arvada every year except maybe a year and a half when I was at Wheat Ridge when I was first married,” said Matassa.
“I love Arvada and as a 15 year old, and I never expected that my age would be here to receive a proclamation as a judge.
“I remember playing in my yard and running for soccer on the streets,” continued Matassa. “But I never thought I’d be here tonight, and I really appreciate that. It’s something that doesn’t happen to everyone. I am honored to do so. “
Arvada City Council voted on June 16, 2020 to approve a contract between the city and the republic Services garbage haulage company. The contract was scrutinized by the municipality because of Republic Services’ minimum monthly fee charged to those who choose to unsubscribe from the service and because the council did not publicly choose the subject.
While cities like Golden sign contracts with a garbage trucker, Arvada previously allowed residents to sign contracts with specific hauliers. While this is still an option, the opt-out fee included in the Republic Services contract is non-negotiable.
At the meeting on Monday, four residents of Arvada spoke out against the contract and expressed frustration with the city council for not putting the issue publicly to the vote.
“Why wasn’t this topic chosen?” asked Tom D’Agostino. “Why ignore such a hot button problem when you knew it mattered to people? Some of the city council members are encouraged and during COVID-19 you have passed and what’s next? What will you happen next time That smells like corruption at the highest level and I will not be silent at all. “
“What right do you have to steal the vote of the citizens?” asked Vicki Walbridge. “What an arrogant plan the four of you showed when you refused to let this go to a referendum. You purposely developed this corrupt game plan during a pandemic because you had the majority of one and wanted to get that done to satisfy your particular interest group while suppressing the will of the people. “
Arvada City Council will hold a workshop session on Monday March 8th. The next business meeting will take place on Monday March 15th. The Arvada City Council meetings have limited personal attendance and can be viewed online on the city’s website. Arvada.org.