Cleanup Days discontinue in Farmington

Farmington leaders decided to discontinue the free city Clean Up Days and will offer residents the option to pay-for-service approach.

Since 2001, the city of Farmington offered residents the ability to place select bulk items on the curb for pickup from a contracted hauler. The city did not bill for Clean Up Days separately. The cost for this service was incorporated into residents’ quarterly bill.

The estimated cost has been annually budgeted at $180,000 that covers the cost of collection and disposal of items picked up.

The city reports the Clean Up Days have produced unfavorable results that include safety concerns with scavengers roaming the community leading up to the event, and illegal dumping that occurs as a result of certain items not being collected.

Due to continued regulatory changes, many items formerly collected on Clean Up Days now must be recycled as opposed to land filled. This type of processing costs the city more and led to more items not being collected as a part of this event, including electronics, scrap metal, tires, mattresses and carpet.

The city anticipates this list of items will grow in the future.

The city has made changes to garbage and recycling services in response to the changing markets around the world. The recycling industry used to benefit from the sale of the recycled materials it collected and materials could be sold by the recyclers and revenue would offset a sizeable portion of the cost to collect and process the recycled material.

During the past two years, the amount that end users of the recycled material are willing to pay has been reduced significantly. This directly relates to a decrease in revenue that used to offset the cost to collect and process recycled materials.

The net result is an increase of 80 percent in fees paid to recycle by customers like the city and residents. To respond to increased costs, the city looked at the current garbage and recycling operations for ways to reduce expenses in all areas.

The option to call and have items picked up for a fee has been available to residents year round. There is also an option of dropping off items directly at DSI for a reduced rate.

Outside of bulk item pick up or drop off, all Dakota County residents can use the recycling zone in Eagan where items can be dropped year round and most are free of charge.

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