With a change in trash pick-up providers set for July 1, the city’s public works department and aldermen have fielded hundreds of calls recently about missed trash collection, according to Public Works Committee Chairman Mark Skidmore.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted in May to hire Waste Pro, a Florida-based company, for once-a-week, back-door trash pick-up starting July 1.
The city’s current five-year contract with Republic Services, a company it has contracted with for several years to pick up trash twice-a-week, ends June 30.
Already, there have been some major issues with the transition.
“I don’t mind the phone calls,” Skidmore said during a Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting last week, “but we’re upset at our garbage people – our waste management group.”
Skidmore said that Republic is losing many of its employees who have learned the company won’t be servicing the city after this month.
“We’re getting 100 calls a day where we’re used to having half-a-dozen calls,” he said. “They have a real labor problem.”
To help alleviate the problem, Mayor Jamie Clary signed a contract with Waste Pro to start earlier than July 1 to help pick up the missed houses. The company started on Monday.
“We know that the current situation isn’t good enough and we have to take steps to improve it,” Clary said.
He estimated that it would cost the city an additional $30,000 to get Waste Pro to come in early, but anticipates the city will get that money back after it enforces its contract with Republic that assesses penalties for missed trash collection.
Clary also said that Republic started picking up trash on Wednesdays and Saturdays – days it doesn’t normally pick up trash – to help with the problem.
Clary and Skidmore both said it’s important for residents to call the city’s public works department at 615-822-1016 when trash is not picked up – both before and after July 1.
He also urged residents to keep their same routine until after the new company officially takes over on July 1.
After that time, residents who have been taking their trash to the curb, but want to take advantage of the back-door service, should start leaving their trash cans where they want the new company to pick them up, Clary said.
“You can have back-door service,” he said. “But please don’t change now.”
The city issued a map last week showing what days certain areas of the city will have their trash picked up on beginning July 1. Clary said Waste Pro would be mailing out information as well within the next week.
Homeowners pay for residential trash collection through an annual assessment listed on property tax bills. The current annual assessment is $293. The city is currently paying around $4.5 million for the twice-a-week service. The once-a-week move is expected to save the city $2 million.