Coalville mayor is on Main Street talking trash
July 17, 2009
The headquarters for one of Summit County’s most prominent trash haulers sits smack dab in the middle of Main Street in Coalville.
And unsightly garbage bins stored at Humpty Dumpsters belong to Coalville Mayor Duane Schmidt, who owns the hauling company at 23 N. Main Street, North Summit resident Leon Simister said in a telephone interview Monday.
"We’re the only city that I can think of that has a garbage dump at Main and Center," Simister said.
Simister said last year he was surprised when members of the Coalville City Council approved Schmidt’s permit for the location.
"It doesn’t seem like a good idea to me," Simister said.
Simister used to criticize government in Coalville as a longtime columnist for the Summit County Bee before his newspaper column was stopped a few years ago.
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Meanwhile, Schmidt, who is currently campaigning for four more years in office, shot back at his critics Thursday. In 2008, the Coalville City Council approved a conditional use permit for Humpty Dumpsters on Main Street.
"To be frank, I think that some of the conditions that were placed on me, were conditions that maybe, if I were not mayor, would not have been placed on me," Schmidt said in a telephone interview. "I think I was held to a little higher standard and I have complied with that standard. I have done it willingly and it was costly."
The newer office complex used to be a house, Schmidt explained.
"That place is well maintained and clean and neat, and it really has very little effect on Main Street in general," he said.
He planted trees and is installing a landscaping berm to shield a neighbor’s view of the property.
"If anything, I think that I’ve raised property values over there," Schmidt said. "It’s virtually impossible to make everybody happy, but I think there are probably more people who are happy to see the property be used in a clean and decent manner."
To avoid conflicts of interest, Schmidt said he hired an attorney to attend council meetings on his behalf when the conditional use permit was debated.
"I didn’t come to the meeting and actually participate in any of that process," Schmidt said. "I stayed away."
His opponent in the mayoral race this year, former Coalville Mayor Merlyn Johnson, criticized the Humpty Dumpsters location.
"I think it’s a pretty poor place to have it because you don’t clean up those garbage trucks every night," Johnson said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "Not only that, [Schmidt] has those bins."
Schmidt said he understands that stigma is attached to trash haulers in neighborhoods.
"People don’t want a trash business by them. I’m very aware of that stigma, and because I’m aware, I’ve tried to do my very best," Schmidt said. "I knew that when election time came up that that was going to be a sticking point for some and I invite anybody over to take a look at my property. I doubt anybody would say this is dirty."