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Archive for Monday, February 14, 2011

Lawrence City Commission expected to appoint task force to focus on trash

February 14, 2011

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Talk trash and do it fast.

Those are expected to be the marching orders for a new city task force that will consider major changes to the city’s trash and recycling programs.

“This is a task force that will be in a hurry,” said City Commissioner Aron Cromwell, who hopes to be appointed as the chair of the new task force.

City commissioners are expected to formally create the task force at their meeting today. Cromwell said its work needs to be completed by May 15 in order to give city commissioners a chance to include any recommended changes in the 2012 budget, which will be crafted this summer.

As for what those changes may be, they could be significant, including everything from new, automated trucks to turning over the city-operated system to a private contractor.

Cromwell said the task force will look at all options, including privatization.

“That’s going to be looked at for sure,” Cromwell said. “To be perfectly honest, I have reservations about privatization going into this, but I want to get the information.”

Other issues that could be discussed by the task force include:

• Automation. Currently, most city trash trucks operate with a three-person crew. But there are truck systems that use automated arms or special lifts that could cut the crew size to one or two people. But those systems likely would require customers to use special plastic carts instead of traditional cans or bags. Staff members also have cautioned it could require changes in on-street parking availability for some neighborhoods.

• Rate changes. Several communities — especially those that require carts — are changing their rates to charge people based on how much trash they throw away. For example, people could rent a 35-gallon, 65-gallon or 95-gallon cart from the city. People who rent a 35-gallon cart would pay less than a person who rents a 95-gallon cart. The catch: You must fit all your trash into the cart. You wouldn’t be able to set out extra bags, although some cities allow that, for an extra charge.

• Curbside recycling. Cromwell said if the city begins charging people based on how much trash they generate, then the city also needs to make more recycling options available.

“When we look at this, we’re going to have to look at recycling options,” Cromwell said. “But a big question becomes, who is going to take care of that?”

Currently several private companies offer curbside recycling services in the city. But there also has been discussion of creating a city-operated service that would be included in monthly bill of all residents, whether they used the service or not.

Commissioners at today’smeeting are expected to formally create the task force, but they do not yet have a list of people to appoint to the task force.

Cromwell said he’ll lobby for a small task force that is heavy on city officials. But he said the task force would hold open meetings and would have community forums during March and April to get feedback from residents about what they want in terms of trash and recycling services.

“We’ll want to hear from everybody,” Cromwell said.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. today at City Hall.

Comments

JackRipper 3 years, 10 months ago

"“That’s going to be looked at for sure,” Cromwell said. “To be perfectly honest, I have reservations about privatization going into this, but I want to get the information.” "

Funny sounds like the famous words of our commission that has already made up its mind and now just want to have a rubber stamp task force to make it appear it has been decided based on a review. Not only will street parking be an issue but I'd like to know how the automated truck will deal with trash cans sitting in various ways on the snow mounds created when the streets are plowed. I'd also like to know why the minimum trash can is 35 gallons when all I have is a bag a week and working to reduce that. Funny how I being the old fashion conservative pay for my recycling by a private guy who is being ran out of business by the city because I'm sure of sweet heart deals from the company in KC and monitored by a company in California. Are we sure our city commission is really concerned about jobs here in Lawrence?

irvan moore 3 years, 10 months ago

please don't let cromwell be in charge of screwing us citizens again, what did we ever do to him to deserve this?

allamerican4ever 3 years, 10 months ago

whats wrong with the trash service? do something about the streets or get more buses and gravel the streets. ole chuck soules dont know the difference between gravel and concrete. the streets prove that.

cowboy 3 years, 10 months ago

Cromwell , what an idiotic plan , plain and simple

  1. Trash rates and the performance of the department are very good. While the dept has run some deficits in the past couple years they are from operational problems that can / have been addressed.
  2. There is a private company that recycles , why would you want to recreate the wheel and take the risk of starting up an operation from scratch.
  3. Who in the heck do you think you are to recommend charging for a service if you do not use the service.

Stop your nonsense now before you inflict a lot of damage.

deec 3 years, 10 months ago

How much will the new automated trucks and all those new plastic carts cost? Who pays for the carts? What happens if your cart is stolen from the alley? What about bulk items?

verity 3 years, 10 months ago

I voted for Cromwell. I was wrong. Do overs?

Mari Aubuchon 3 years, 10 months ago

So, are you all ready to fight for our public trash collection service and the people who have done such a good job for so many years?

I am.

pace 3 years, 10 months ago

In my opinion. There should be city wide collection of the most easily recycled materials, Mixed papers, cardboard, mags, news, etc. and metals, Start with those two catagories,, watch your collection and marketing costs. Plastics, glass all have heavy collectioncosts and unwieldy marketing problems. Once a week even once a month pick up would be a practical curbside collection for the city to do. Every business, organization and home in this city has paper. Just getting it recycled instead of sending it to the land fill will save the city money in the long run. In the short run, change costs and management must be guided by a sharp pencil This would not please the avid recycle everything crowd or the I hate recycling crowd, but it is a sensible base. I commend the men and women who keep this city running by their collection of our trash. Our City trash collectors do a very good job.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 10 months ago

You also approved this message: "i have decided to leave the forum. goodbye. i am signing out. SVEN January 29, 2011" Your words meant nothing then. Why would anyone think your words have any meaning now? You should relax and have a popsicle, sven. It's a cool and fruity treat on a winter night.

conservative 3 years, 10 months ago

Unless the city can run recycling for 4.95 a month per resident and allow all recycling to be jumbled in the same tote they have no business trying to foist their innefficiency on the public. Fyi that is the cost of the service already available to every Lawrence resident through Defenbaugh. Honestly i'll be surprised if the better trash alternative isn't allowing Defenbaugh to run that too. The city has already proven they can't control trash pickup costs.

jafs 3 years, 10 months ago

It's hard to believe Deffenbaugh can run that program for that cost.

I wonder if anybody ever checks to make sure they're actually sorting and recycling things.

irvan moore 3 years, 10 months ago

please city commission do not let cromwell run this task force, give the citizens a break.

gccs14r 3 years, 10 months ago

It's one thing to look at the trash service to see if there are ways to improve it, but it's something that should be looked at carefully, not glanced over by a handful of people with little oversight and a short deadline. If they're serious, they'll start studying this now with the idea of having something to present to the Commission in 2012 with maybe being able to implement changes in 2013. Three months isn't enough time to be thorough.

I feel for the folks who will have to shovel a trash cart pad that faces a major street.

Mari Aubuchon 3 years, 10 months ago

It took a good bit of reading for me to begin to see Waste-to-energy (WtE) or energy-from-waste (EfW) as an alternative to the recycling of certain materials, but it really does appear to be more ecologically sound than I would have thought. Here is a look at one of the most efficient plants in the world:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/13/science/earth/13trash.html

somedude20 3 years, 10 months ago

I would feel better if Oscar the Grouch would be spearheading this committee (who know more about trash than him or Bill O'Reilly)

jafs 3 years, 10 months ago

I like the idea of tiered charges, since we put out very little garbage, and it seems fairer to me.

The other stuff, not so much. There's no need for the city to make more recycling options available - there are plenty available already.

Kat Christian 3 years, 10 months ago

If they think I'm going to pay monthly rent for a trash can...their Crazy so they can use their new trucks to impress. I Don't Think So!!!!

pace 3 years, 10 months ago

Defenbaugh is an ugly costumer. I would prefer to spend money to enhance our existing system than to give any to that company. I have worked with them before. Their good deals are way too expensive in the long run. They are too good to be true. You can be a sucker but if the city is serious about giving something important to them, such as trash collection or recycling, we will really be sorry.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 10 months ago

Do any of the Commissioners ever pay attention to these forums? (I know, that's like asking if they give a sh*te which they don't, but I think it's still a good question.)

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