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Garbage changes need everyone’s cooperation

Change is coming to city curb sides.

Following contract approval last week by the city board, WasteManagement is scheduled to begin private garbage pick up servicesMarch 1. Company officials are hoping for a smooth transition fromcity-run services to private operations.

Residents can help by having their garbage out for pick up by 7a.m. on its scheduled collection days.

In switching to a private service, some officials and citizensare lamenting the loss of a “personal touch” that they said thecity was able to provide by handling garbage pick up. That means,in other words, going back and collecting garbage after a customerput it out too late for normal pick up.

That “personal touch,” though, resulted in customers being”spoiled” or “babied” and contributed to the problem of inefficientoperation in the solid waste department. Too many employees andequipment maintenance – or lack of it – further added to conditionsthat ultimately forced the city board to go with a privateservice.

In voting to privatize, aldermen decided to maintain city-runtrash services and are considering a $1.50 a month garbage feeincrease to $13.50 in order to do that.

Other pending recommendations include buying new equipment withthe additional revenue and reducing personnel in the trashoperation. Where possible, other current solid waste employeeswould be relocated to other city departments.

We agree with Alderman Bob Massengill that no one wants to see agarbage fee increase. But keeping the “personal touch” of city-runservice would have required a much-larger increase, possibly to asmuch as $25 a month.

The bagging of leaves, a difficult chore for some people, isalso not a popular option. Bagging will not be needed if theequipment and other recommendations are accepted.

Implementing the recommendations will mean new equipment and noexcuses for the city’s revamped trash department. Aldermen mustwatch operations closely and act quickly should expectations not bemet.

A period of adjustment can be expected as the city changes howit handles its garbage and trash business. Some understanding andcooperation by everyone will go a long way to seeing that thetransition is as smooth as possible.