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La Crosse to pay more for large item collection; council member defends service

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A garbage contractor gets a bump in pay for handling stuff dumped on the curb during the big college move out in La Crosse.

The city’s board of public works approved paying Hilltopper Refuse an estimated $96,000-$97,000 this year to collect large items during that four-week spring, move-out period this year.

It’s an essential service to maintain, despite the cost, says council member Jessica Olson.

“It’s a benefit that everyone in the community needs at some point in their life here,” she said. “Our college students especially depend on it. It’s just a necessary part of being a college town that we take care of at this time of year.”

The alternative might be worse.

“Locally, we need to plan and provide this service so that they don’t throw things in the marsh or throw things on someone else’s property to avoid that fee,” Olson said.

The price jumps a couple thousand dollars but these students are well worth it, according to Olson.

“They come here. They spend upwards of $30,000 a year on tuition,” she said. “They’re creating jobs. They’re spending money in our restaurants and other local businesses. They’re having this tremendous economic impact.

“And at the end of their 3-4 year stay, they do have things they need to dispose of when they do move out.”

Coming from a landlord’s perspective, Olson can relate.

“I am busy taking care of my property. I am painting, doing repairs and maintenance,” she said. “I’m doing upgrades and things that I can’t do other times of the year when the units are occupied. I need to focus on that to protect the tax base and everybody else does, too.”

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