As the city prepares to move toward once-a-week, back-door trash pick-up on July 1, both the phone lines at City Hall and social media sites like Facebook have been abuzz with questions – and complaints.
The Hendersonville Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 10 to 1 on May 14 to hire Waste Pro, a company headquartered in Longwood, Fla., to pick up residential trash once-a-week. Currently homeowners are having their trash picked up twice-a-week. The move will save the city around $2 million.
Since the vote last week, many residents are asking how the change will affect them and if the savings to the city will be passed down to homeowners. Homeowners pay for trash collection through an annual assessment listed on their property tax bill. They currently pay $293 a year for trash pick-up. The city also pays around $950,000 in tipping, or land fill fees out of the city’s general fund.
Although several cities like Nashville and Gallatin have once-a-week pick-up, the move will be a first for Hendersonville.
Here are some questions residents may have about the switch along with answers from city officials:
When will my service change?
The change will take place beginning July 1, depending on what day of the week your neighborhood is assigned trash pick-up.
According to social media posts, several residents have already experienced delays with the city’s current provider, Republic Services. The city’s public works department received dozens of calls of missed service on Monday – nearly three times the normal amount of calls. When asked about reports that many of Republic’s workers didn’t show up to work on Monday, Mayor Jamie Clary said he couldn’t confirm that, but acknowledged the delay. Clary urged residents to call the public works department so that complaints could be recorded and addressed as quickly as possible.
“During the final six weeks of [Republic’s] contract the city will monitor Republic Services’ work and consider penalizing the company if it repeatedly misses houses,” he said. Clary also said that he has been told that Waste Pro is open to hiring Republic staff who currently work in Hendersonville.
When and how will I be notified what day of the week my trash will be picked up on?
Clary says residents will be notified within the next couple of weeks what day of the week their trash will be picked up on the city’s website, through their homeowner’s associations, through social media and other media outlets. The city or Waste Pro may also send a letter notifying homeowners.
Will the amount I pay for trash pick-up change? If so, how much?
The annual trash pick-up fee is voted on each year by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in June as a part of the city’s next fiscal year budget process. Clary says he will propose that the trash fee be cut by $41. City leaders are expected to vote on the 2020 fiscal year budget and annual trash fee in June.
At least two aldermen have said they think the fee should go down as well.
“I think it’s only fair that when we cut the service, we cut the amount that homeowners pay for that service,” said Ward 2 Alderman Scott Sprouse.
According to Acting Public Works Director Marshall Boyd, the cost of once-a-week back-door service to homeowners would be around $168 a year – a $125-a-year difference to what they are now paying.
“I don’t think it’s right to charge a penny more than $168-a-year,” Sprouse said.
Ward 1 Alderman Mark Skidmore says he thinks the fee should be decreased as well.
However, he notes that there are still other factors to consider like if what citizens pay for limb pick-up, and a possible city-wide recycling program should be included in their annual assessment.
“Residents’ rate should go down, I’m just not sure how much yet until the budget is presented and we discuss it,” said Skidmore.
Will I get a larger trash can for once-a-week pick-up?
Residents won’t receive a new or different trash can. They can provide their own additional cans with a maximum height of 42 inches.
How will the change affect bulk pick-up of larger items like furniture? Will these items still be picked up?
According to Clary, bulk items placed at the curb will be picked up the same day residents’ trash is picked up.
Can I take my trash to the curb if I don’t want back door pick-up?
Yes, but if you do want back-door pick-up – a service homeowners are paying for – Clary urges residents to keep their trash by the back door.
“We are instructing the new company that if they don’t see trash at the curb, they need to go looking for it, especially early on,” said Clary. “Since they are new, they have no precedence of where people take their trash.”
Who should I call if I have issues with my trash pick-up?
Call the city’s public works department at 615-822-1016.
Is citywide recycling still an option?
The city’s ad hoc solid waste and recycling committee has recommended that the city implement a curbside recycling program.
A pilot recycling program was implemented in the fall of 2017 that serves around eight different neighborhoods. However, bids haven’t been issued for a citywide effort.
Both Mayor Jamie Clary and Public Works Committee Chairman Mark Skidmore have said the city doesn’t want to pay for recycling unless it is assured that the waste is not going to a landfill.
Boyd said recently the city planned to issue a request for bids for a citywide recycling program within the next two months.