Mattress pickups pile up; council pads budget

From 2017 to 2019, an average of 200 mattresses were collected each year. So far this year 1,162 mattresses have been collected. So the budget is increased from $ 20,000 to $ 45,000.

YOUNGSTOWN – City council members discussed possible solutions for mattress collection and CARES Act funding for the city at Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.

Here’s a look at what was discussed:

Mattress pickups

Health commissioner Erin Bishop said the number of mattress pickups in 2020 has so far increased significantly for the city compared to previous years.

From 2017 to 2019, an average of 200 mattresses were collected each year. So far this year, 1,162 mattresses have been picked up, Bishop said.

Mike Durkin, superintendent of Blight Remediation and Code Enforcement, said the pickup increase was due to a “high point of it all this year”.

Plumbing department workers were instructed not to pick up anything that wasn’t in a trash can from March to July because of the pandemic, Durkin said.

“They didn’t pick anything up until July [not in a bin], and the [mattresses] sat there … stacked, ”said Durkin.

Durkin said lawn service has also been vigilant when it comes to calling and picking up the mattresses they find when they drive around town every day. If a mattress is not wrapped, workers will call lawn service to collect it.

Bishop said non-Youngstown people dumped mattresses in town or the mattresses are found in abandoned buildings or vacant lots.

Mattresses cannot be picked up from the sanitary department without a mattress bag either, in order to protect the people who pick them up from bed bugs. The lawn service is picked up without the bags and receives $ 20 per mattress collected.

If there is no bag on it, a note will be left to inform the person that a bag must be placed on the mattress before it can be picked up, Bishop said. Citizens can contact the health department if they need a mattress bag.

Michael’s lawn service has been collecting mattresses for the city for three years. Bishop said funds for the service were originally $ 20,000, which was exceeded due to the increase in mattress removal cases. The resolution would provide funding not exceeding $ 45,000 for the service.

Interim finance director Kyle Miasek said the city has the funds in the budget for this change, but the council needs to allow the control authority to increase the amount in the contract.

“We ask that you spend more for the rest of the year so that we can continue to collect mattresses to avoid more mattresses ending up in garbage trucks,” said Miasek.

Councilor Julius Oliver said it seems like more people need to be educated about how to properly throw away a mattress. Oliver said that public notices similar to the mask-up commercials should be created on topics like this one to get people to care about the city.

“I think we’d save money in the long run,” said Oliver.

CARES Act funding

The city is expected to receive more money from the CARES Act fund in the next few days and will discuss the potential for the allocation of funds within the city’s departments at the next city council meeting.

The city has already received approximately $ 2.9 million from CARES Act funds that was used to cover expenses incurred by the city from mid-March through late August.

Funding was approximately $ 1.1 million for the police department; about $ 1 million for the fire department; about $ 77,000 for 911 shipping; $ 456,000 for the health department; $ 78,000 for the Park and Recreation Department; and $ 59,000 for the finance department.

Miasek said the city will investigate the other departments not previously involved in funding the CARES bill to see if they can benefit from the money the city will receive in the next day or two, and under the directives of the law.

He is expected to answer questions about where the city is seeking the next phase of funding through the CARES Act by the end of the city council meeting on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

“This is something that is outside of the current document, but we’ve started to highlight and identify some changes internally that we’d like to see in our buildings,” said Miasek.

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