Q: I recently heard that our trash pick up is being reduced to once weekly and I was wondering if my taxes will be reduced accordingly? If my taxes are not being reduced I am wondering why that might be. I eagerly await your response and appreciate your time.
A: Thank you for reaching out to us regarding solid waste services. We continue experiencing a very significant employee shortage in solid waste collections despite a number of measures we have implemented. In solid waste collections there are 74 approved positions. Currently, the collection services require 61 individuals each day to cover all collections (trash, recycling, brush/bulky). Once vacancies, sick, vacation, and other leave is considered the actual number of employees available each day is 48. Meaning each day collection crews operate with 35 percent fewer people than approved and are working six days a week instead of their scheduled four, 10‐hour days.
A comprehensive analysis of the city’s solid waste collection system is in the works; however, until the analysis is complete, we anticipate the employee shortage continuing. Therefore, the interim strategy in which you are aware is being implemented providing weekly collection services on a set schedule with the available current staffing level. The interim collection service, which contains a once‐a‐week collection model, allows for all services to continue with the current staffing level.
While the frequency of weekly trash collection is changing, unfortunately, the volume of trash being collected by city crews is not changing ‐ meaning, the same amount of trash is being collected. Additionally, the monthly solid waste rate is built to fund collection operations, but it also funds necessary landfill capital improvements, and necessary vehicle replacements. Therefore, a reduction in the monthly solid waste rate is not possible.
We understand the interim changes may not be ideal. However, we must deal with the very real staffing shortages we are experiencing and continue providing excellent service. Our goal is to bring a permanent collection solution to City Council for their consideration as quickly as possible. Here is a link to an interactive map in which addresses can be entered to determine the Oct. 1 new collection day. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the employee shortage.