The city council tabled proposed fee increases for the city’s yard waste program Tuesday night so different alternatives to the program could further be explored.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer provided the majority vote needed, to the council’s 7-6 vote, to table the issue. Ward 4 Alderwoman Sharon McMahon was absent.

Ward 7 Alderman Ron Candido opposes the $10 increase in the annual toter sticker fee and the $3 to $5 increase (per bundle of five) for city yard waste bags.

Candido wants city officials to “brainstorm other alternatives that don’t cost our citizens as much money.”

He suggests the city “get out of the bag business.”

Residents would be able to purchase any of the similar yard waste bags available in stores, such as five bags for $1.78, but have a small city sticker required to be purchased, such as for 40 cents a bag, for yard waste collection.

Candido said other cities do this, and it would save the average Danville citizen about 24 cents a bag.

He also wants to further look at how the city handles yard waste and if yard waste really needs to be collected once a week — or could it be picked up every other week — during the summer.

He and Public Works Director Doug Ahrens also pointed out that some cities don’t collect grass clippings, some don’t collect yard waste at all, some require residents to take it to a site and others prohibit burning.

Eisenhauer said the city can’t continue to “be financially prudent” and operate the program as it’s doing, with revenues only covering about 31 percent of expenses. That’s the way the program has been running the past three years.

The proposed fee increases, including for compost and mulch, would help pay for about half the program. The remaining half is paid through the monthly solid waste fees.

Eisenhauer said a decision must be made at the Aug. 11 public works committee meeting.

Aldermen voting not to table the issue: Lois Cooper, DeMarko Wright, Mike Puhr, Dale Brandenburg, Jon Cooper and Rick Strebing.

Prior to the vote, Eisenhauer said if the fees fail, and now if an alternative isn’t found, aldermen will have to consider increasing the $18 monthly solid waste fee as a whole to help continue to pay for the program or reduce the yard waste program collection to only run eight to 10 weeks a year.

Normally the yard waste program runs April 1 through about the second week of January. This year, due to budget cuts, the program began May 1.

Eisenhauer said the city received “numerous” phone calls because of the delay.

Also Tuesday, an alley vacation request by Todd Byerly was withdrawn from the agenda. The public works committee denied vacating the unimproved alley south of Bensyl Avenue and west of Avenue F in a special meeting prior to the council meeting.

Byerly is looking at another less costly option for his water line issue than an estimated $5,000 water main extension. Neighbors are concerned about blocking access and emergency vehicles to their back yards and homes if the alley is vacated.

In other business, aldermen:

-- Learned the traffic signal is back to normal flashing 24 hours a day at Fairchild and Griffin streets. The signal was one of three along Fairchild Street being studied by the city.

Ward 4 Alderman Terry Baldwin said there was particular concern about fire trucks going through the intersection.

-- Approved purchasing 65 handheld radios for police officers for $31,622 from Barbeck Communications of Tilton. Funding comes from the Law Enforcement Grant Fund.

-- Appropriated $7,000 in motor fuel tax funds and approving an engineering agreement for a Bowman Avenue Bridge analysis.

Ward 1 Alderman Rickey Williams Jr. doesn’t understand why city engineers can’t perform the work.

City Engineer David Schnelle replied that the short-handed staff is busy with Jackson and Voorhees street projects, in addition to downtown pedestrian, roadway overlay and various other construction projects.

-- Authorized Berns, Clancy and Associates of Urbana to design parking lot improvements surrounding the municipal building, at a cost of $24,982. Funding comes from the city’s 2009 bond issue.

Some aldermen questioned the need for more parking downtown at the Kresge Lot.

-- Revoked a special-use permit issued to Marvin Davis on Jan. 17, 2006, for 400 Sager St., the old St. Joseph’s gymnasium and school across from the Vermilion County Health Department.

Police have continued to be called to the building for fights and other reasons, and the building is no longer used for the uses originally stated in the special-use permit.

City officials cited the positive wresting and boxing programs also housed there. Davis can seek a new permit to keep those going.

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