After numerous complaints by city residents about trash pick-up, City Manager Leslie Cloer said city officials will evaluate service and reporting by the city's contractor, Waste Connections.
Waste Connections has agreed to do a better job of reporting residents' complaints to the city. Company officials will speak to city council members at the end of this month. “By then, we will have had time to evaluate their service and reporting,” Cloer said.
By contract, Waste Connections is required to relay problems or issues with trash pick-up to the city – something the company has failed to do.
“Going forward, we will receive daily and weekly logs from Waste Connections,” Cloer said. “If there is an issue, or a reason trash cannot be picked up, we will be made aware of it.”
Matt Lowe, site manager for Waste Connections, acknowledged lax reporting to the city.
“It's true, we had gotten away from reporting to the city,” he said. “Going forward, we will make sure all issues are reported daily.”
Waste Connections, a solid waste and recycling company, has contracted with the city for trash and recycling services since 2010.
Residents and businesses have complained about missed trash pick-ups, rude customer service, and messes left behind by Waste Connections workers.
That prompted a meeting between Waste Connections management and Cloer, Mayor Steve Presley, Finance Director Jim Mahoney, and Public Works Director Tim Perry.
Cloer said Waste Connections was “very receptive” to their concerns, and committed to serving the Palestine community. “It was a very positive meeting,” she said.
Most complaints by residents, Cloer said, were made on social media, or to the Waste Connections office.
“Residents must call the city with these complaints,” Cloer said. “We won't know there's a problem unless we're told.”
Cloer also said she has recently received several compliments from residents about Waste Connections. Timely, efficient trash pick-up is a team effort, she said.
“If residents want their trash picked up, make sure it's on the curb at the appropriate time,” Cloer said. “Also, much of what people are reporting as mess has been loose trash and cardboard, left out on the curb and blown down the street by the wind.”
Lowe said providing quality service to Palestine residents and businesses is important to Waste Connections. If customers follow a few simple guidelines, he said, providing that service would be easier.
“There's a 20-bag limit,” he said. “Have it out on the curb by 7 a.m., and make sure there are no appliances, motor oil, chemicals, or paint.”
During the summer months, Lowe said, hot coals from backyard grills often make it into the trash, sometimes causing garbage truck fires.
Residents also may schedule a free large pick-up once a month; crews will remove appliances, furniture, or oversized garbage.