It was a rocky year with Republic Services and trash, yard waste and recycling pickups. Some folks were serviced late and even entire neighborhoods were bypassed on pickup days.
Speaking before the BOC (Board of Commissioners) tonight (1.11.18) at City Hall, Gerry Burke with Republic Services said his company will resolve all issues, noting, “We want to honor the terms of our agreement. We can perform.”
City Manager Jim Atkinson listed three areas of concern with the waste company:
- Trouble with yard waste pickup in the fall of 2017. “We’ve had a lot of calls from citizens,” he said, and they were “increasingly agitated callers.” He said Republic is to pick up unlimited yard waste on trash day and that hasn’t been happening.
- Entire neighborhoods have been missed for pickups. He said trucks break down and it’s happening too much.
- And finally he noted that certain streets are missed frequently. In the last year, Memphis Arlington Road was missed seven to 10 times. That is unacceptable.
Commissioner Wesley Wright asked if the BOC could receive cost estimates for trash and recycling pickup in the same day. With the multiple pickup days and confusion among residents as who which day is for which receptacle, those cans can be on the streets three out of five days, and that doesn’t look good.
Mr. Atkinson said the contract was amended about a year ago to have unlimited yard waste pickups on Fridays. “We can reconsider this,” he said. “We can rebid the contract or amend the contract with Republic”
Commissioner Matt Wright asked when the Republic contract terminates. It is in 2020 and notice of 180 days must be given to cancel the contract, said Mr. Atkinson.
Responses from Mr. Burke:
- He will do an audit of Lakeland recycling. He noted tons of recycling picked up are very low, probably not 50% of the addresses. He said most people who want weekly recycling pickup could probably be issued a second cart. After the audit, he said, he will better be able to discuss weekly service.
- Yard waste, he said, goes in the same truck as waste. He said his company is making a plan to avoid problems in the future. “We’ve had truck issues,” he lamented. “We bought two brand new trucks but are struggling with mechanics.” He said Republic is hiring new and extra mechanics and the issue will be resolved. By April he expects to have one or two spare trucks.
Mayor Wyatt Bunker said there have been ups and downs with Republic over the years. “We’ve been through good and bad with you guys.” He said a letter of concern was drafted by the BOC to present to Mr. Burke.
Commissioner Clark Plunk added the City has had a good relationship with Republic over the years. “There have been little bumps in the road but you’ve always worked it out.”
Commissioner Matt Wright said he appreciated Mr. Burke coming and owning up to the problems and asked what could be done about the volume of leaves in the fall. Mr. Burke said he might add a truck for seasonal leaf pickup. “I assure you we will have a plan,” he said.
Mr. Plunk asked that Mr. Burke come back to a February meeting and bring his supervisor. In the meantime, he will meet with City staff.
The evening started with recognition for a former elected official and, most recently, volunteer on the City Municipal Planning Commission. Don Barber was recognized for four years as a commissioner and five years on the MPC, including chair of the group in later years. Mayor Bunker spoke of his distinguished service to the City. “I admire him for his character and recognize his leadership,” said Mayor Bunker.
Commissioner Barber was asked to come forward and he brought his two grandchildren, Natalie, age 12, and Blake, age 8. He said being an American is a privilege and with privilege comes service. He said he has served his City and his County and his God and everyone who’s asked. “It’s why we are here. To serve other people. I challenge everybody to make time to serve. Seize them.” He thanked the BOC for the opportunity to serve.
Link to the meeting agenda: http://tn-lakeland.civicplus.com/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/738
In his monthly report to the BOC, Mr. Atkinson addressed plans for the winter weather advisories for Friday. He said Shelby County did not make brine to put on the streets because it is ineffective in the rain. The City has a mixture of salt and sand and crews will report to work at 4 a.m. tomorrow if the bad weather comes. The Beehive (asset management software) presentation was held for February.
All items on the consent agenda were approved.
The ordinance dealing with rules in City parks was deferred to February.
A resolution was added at the end of the meeting. It was to express opposition of the State Legislature permitting the sale of fireworks within Lakeland. There are multiple bills being considered but BOC members don’t want the permitting process taken out of Lakeland and moved to the State.