06-01 waste connections-02

Trucks and dumpsters in the lot of Waste Connections of Palestine.  Waste Connections has recently been the subject of many complaints from city residents and businesses.

Some Palestine residents and businesses say their trash sits on the street for days – left by the waste company they've paid to pick it up.

Waste Connections, the solid waste disposal company contracted by the city since 2010 for trash and recyclable removal, has come under fire recently from residents who say the company has failed to do its job.

And the city's director of public works, Tim Perry, says they have a point.

“There's definitely a problem with the trash service,” Perry said. “The problems all start with Waste Connections.”

By contract, Waste Connections must document every missed trash pick-up and the reason it was missed, and then provide the city with a copy of the report.

This, Perry said, does not happen.

District 2 Councilman Mitchell Jordan told the Herald-Press Friday garbage pick-up complaints are frequent in his district, including refusing to pick up garbage tied in shopping bags, leaving messes on property, erratic pick-up schedules, and rude customer service people.

Local businesses have similarly complained, saying their dumpsters often go without emptying for more than a week.

One business owner posted on social media that he had called about a missed pick-up, but was told the truck was full, and it was not Waste Connections' problem.

Interim City Manager Leslie Cloer told the Herald-Press that, in her two weeks on the job, she has fielded numerous complaints about Waste Connections.

“Part of the problem is, some residents call Waste Connections to complain,” she said. “Residents must call the city with these complaints. We won't know there's a problem unless we're told.”

Cloer said she is investigating residents' complaints. If the allegations of missed pick-ups are true, she said, she is going to work on pro-rating those residents' and businesses' trash bills.

Waste Connections, Cloer said, should report all complaints made by city residents. Whether they do, she said, is unclear.

Cloer has scheduled a meeting Monday with Waste Connections officials to discuss service issues experienced by residents and commercial customers.

“I'm most likely going to make this an agenda item for the June 10 City Council meeting,” Cloer said. “I want to evaluate the volume of complaints we've been receiving, versus the volume of complaints Waste Connections has been reporting. I also want the council to go over their contract.”

Cloer said residents should document in writing any issues they are having with Waste Connections.

“We can only solve the problem if we have evidence,” she said.

Calls made to Waste Connections were not returned.