"Wow, we've learned a lot about bottles." Galt Mayor Barbara Payne was surprised at the education she received during the council's discussion on whether to switch from tap to bottled water Tuesday night.
All five City Council members and city staff had bottles of off-brand water in front of them. Councilman Mark Crews said he privately purchased the bottles and placed them in the council chamber before the meeting.
One lone white pitcher was still sitting at the staff table next to two empty plastic cups.
In 2007, the council passed an ordinance discouraging the use of bottled water at government meetings.
The council unanimously reversed the decision and supported going back to the bottles. They also pledged to recycle them after every meeting.
Council newcomer Mike Singleton brought up the issue because he said using the pitchers ended up not being environmentally friendly, and that gathering the water was taking up staff time.
The plastic cups the council use with the pitchers are thick and are not recyclable at all, Singleton said. Water bottles use less plastic and are made with natural gas, he argued.
"Most major manufactures are introducing lighter-weight bottles to reduce costs and environmental concerns," Singleton said.
He also said staff members were spending time filling up the pitchers with ice and water that could be better spent on city business.
A new recycling bin was outside the chambers, and Singleton said the bottles will be recycled and the money from that will go to a local adopt-a-family program.
Resident Al Baldwin said he did not support the resolution when the council passed it in 2007 and applauded the council for bringing it back.
"What this town needs and country needs is more jobs, and that's what these bottles will give us being recycled," he said.