Survey says city’s solid waste woes may be turning around

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 16, 2004

Could the city’s troubled solid waste operations finally beturning around?

City officials say the operation’s budget situation is improvingmonthly after aldermen voted to switch to a private garbagecollection service earlier this year. Unlike most other city budgetareas, solid waste operations must be self-supporting with revenuegenerated from user fees and a small tax levy.

Following an adjustment period, private company officials saythe service is running smoothly as residents have become acclimatedto the new routes.

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In voting to privatize, aldermen opted to continue with city-runtrash services.

That side of the operations started looking better last week asa rubbish fill boundary survey revealed additional land where trashcould be dumped.

Whereas one of the city’s rubbish fills was near capacity, thenew boundaries are expected to extend the fill’s life for severalyears. Residents’ assistance with separation of leaves, limbs andpine straw from other forms of trash will help extend the rubbishfill’s life even further, city officials say.

And not having to conduct engineering studies or purchase landfor additional rubbish disposal space will provide a savings forthe city’s solid waste budget.

With revenue still limited, city officials say a major equipmentbreakdown could be very damaging to the budget. Equipment needsshould be one of the items discussed as city fathers prepare for anew budget.

City solid waste operations are not out of the woods yet.However, the effects of privatization and stronger oversight bycity leaders have helped the services take a turn for thebetter.