Archive for Wednesday, February 29, 2012

City takes steps to change trash system

February 29, 2012


Mandated city trash carts: Lawrence leaders are betting you’re going to like them better than you think.

Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday meeting took another step toward creating a trash system that will require residents to use special city trash carts instead of cans or bags, and they said they’re confident residents will grow to love the carts.

“This change will be difficult for some people, but we’ll work through it,” said City Commissioner Bob Schumm. “It will make us a greener and a better community, and you’re going to love yourself more as a result of it.”

Commissioners didn’t make any final decisions Tuesday, but they indicated a system requiring the use of city-issued trash carts is likely. Commissioners directed staff members to prepare a report on how the city could implement a cart system.

City officials pointed to a survey done by the city of Olathe that found residents there had many concerns alleviated about the plastic carts once they began using them. For example, before the carts were issued, 69 percent were concerned they wouldn’t have enough space to store the cart. After usage, that concern fell to 16 percent.

Commissioners also touted data indicating the carts dramatically will improve the safety of city sanitation workers. The new carts would allow all trash to be dumped with a hydraulic lift rather than lugged by workers. That’s significant, city officials said, because they estimate the average Lawrence trash worker lifts 7,500 pounds in a single day.

“I think we do need to think about the safety of the people who are providing a great service,” Mayor Aron Cromwell said.

City commissioners are expected to get a report back in several weeks, and any changes to the trash system likely would take several months to implement.

In other trash news:

• Commissioners made no decision on how large the trash carts may be, but they had on display 35 gallon, 65 gallon and 95 gallon carts.

• The idea of creating a curbside recycling service that would be added to everyone’s monthly bill also will get more study. Commissioners said they wanted to hear how a request for proposals could be put together for a private company to offer such a service citywide. They also told staff to prepare a report for how the city could provide the service itself. But commissioners stopped short of saying they planned to add the service. Several said they still had concerns about how much a curbside system may add to monthly bills.


oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 1 month ago

ONe person can have the same pain as two or three on a truck. wow, tomato grower doesn't make sense. Next, how will landfill costs go down? If that is true then the fees associated with collection of trash would also go down.

The plan as concevied by the commissioners, pushed for by a bunch of whackos, is ill conceived and a doctor is needed for sure.

Is there a doctor in the house? I'll take headdoctor and remind everyone of the pothole machine the city bought. Yep, it really works good. So good that the city goes out of town to buy that special brown gravel that is strewn around and left to only be ground into the remaining asphalt around the pothole.

The city needs a doctor for sure and headdoctor is what it needs. A pyschiatrist doctor. The thinking at City Hall is too much like what is coming from just around the corner at the J/W from Mr. Simons and his rant about the med center, ku hospital, atkinson, gray, blah and blah.

Send some bottled water to city hall and the j/w , the folks need good nourishment.

This trash plan is a scam! It follows right along with the Mustard Heir, Culture Farms, the guy who came to town to give away money from a rich man,,hahaha, and even DST which bilked the city of $100,000 for personal property tax relieft at the Sallie Mae building, it is a scam just as the overinflated costs with the fire station at 19th and Iowa, and now the library downtown.

This trash implemenation will not reduce much at the landfill. OEW just took a trip there a couple of days ago. $35.00 to dump a pickup load. No wonder the dumpsters around town get used not by the patrons they are for, but by those who do not want to pay for gas to drive to the dump and then the $35.00. Have the five city commissioners ever been to the landfill? Has Ms. Routh who wants this system crammed down the carts of the public?

She would very well , if she took a visit to the dump, then realize what the real Routh or Consequences is.

Mr. Dever, Mr. Schumm, Mr, Cromwell, Mr.Amyx, Mr. Carter, how much more money do you want to take from the public each month? Where will they finally get the last $2.00 from?

I have had folks ask me and I tell them, "the commissioners do not care, it is that simple"

One lady at HyVee on 6th street asked me about getting petitions signed to deliver to the City Commisson , I told her, it won't do any good, "they do not care". If they did,they would step up to the plate and realize that this city has many, many options already for recycling.

I guess they are truly clueless, they really are.


headdoctor 2 years, 1 month ago

The more I look at this it sure seems to be a setup. They wait until they only have two working large trash trucks and two that can be refurbished and the rest are beyond repair. So now they decide this is an ideal time for change. Maybe so but at what cost. I couldn't find a price on their new trash cans but in 2009 the robotic trucks were around $250,000.00 each and the hybrids were around $500,000.00 although some cities brought the price back down with stimulus to the quarter of a million price tag. One really has to wonder who is getting their palms greased on this purchase that will no doubt result in at least a couple of million dollar deal.


oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 1 month ago

OEW is not living in the past. Sadly, the commissioners are not listening to staff,the entire staff. Instead they have been listening to the same ilk of the population that has pushed for Loring Henderson's shelter. And now Schumm wants to hand out another $100,000 to Loring. How's about Mr. Schumm , being so generous, reimburse the city for the Free Sprinkler he got. Now that would bring the past to the front page.

Where are those who have complained that Eagle Bend is competing with private enterprise but yet the city is going to take recycling as a city program. and that competes with private enterprise.

Lawrence has hipocrites that would be enough to change the banners on the bridge from City of Arts to City of Hipocrites.

And this auditor, wow, it doesn't take an auditor to figure out the amount paid in registration fees and deduct that from the salaries in the so called Neighborhood Resources Dept. 4 minus 2 equals 2.

Here is the fact folks! Cities need to show a continued stream of income to be able to float bonds and the only way to do that is show projected income from the increase of fees, taxes, etc. This is all about money and it is your money. Check out how cities work, Mr. Lawhorn, reporter. See if a company backing bonds for cities will alllow the current income to justify the purchase of bonds. I doubt it. Cities , sadly, work on debt. and future income. Most households are trying to operate on current income, something the city is not doing now, or will ever do until the leaders grab the bull and take charge. We have five who are unable to do so.


patkindle 2 years, 1 month ago

aaron cromwell, knows more of what we need than we do we are not smart enough to handle our own lives even our daily trash lets just bow to him like we do obama put some folk out of work and give it all to diffleball, pretty simple we can make it up with the homeless shelter


Piggles 2 years, 1 month ago

You really got to be kidding me. There is just me and I have ONE bag of trash. Rarely I might have two bags (maybe like once or twice a year). I already have 2 trash cans that are stored on my patio - if I get one from the city that will be 3 trashcans/carts that will be stored on my patio. I don't need a cart. I already have two trash cans. The reason I don't use a can is because I only have one bag of trash. also I don't use a cart/can because the trash workers just throw it on the ground or in the street. I am not putting a cart/can at the street for one lonely bag of trash. City can find better ways for use of their money like fix /pave streets that need it.


Floyd Craig 2 years, 1 month ago



friendlyjhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

OMG, that pictures looks like the zombies are strolling that neighborhood!


irvan moore 2 years, 1 month ago

i think it would be reasonable to assume if the utilitys are in the renters name (most single family dwellings) the renter would pay for it.


Kat Christian 2 years, 1 month ago

Are renters required to BUY their container or the Landlord? I do not plan to buy a special can for my trash...already have two nice round cans. And how can the Trash Dept be so concerned about their workers hurting themselves by lifting cans when they plan to layoff a bunch of them just to use this new system? What a crock of crap. I hate it when organizations color-coat their language to cover up their devious intentions.


Patricia Davis 2 years, 1 month ago

We have used a city cart for years and I agree they are heavy duty, easy to roll. I store mine in the garage (wish my neighbors did!). I have been pleased with Deffenbaugh but if the city charges me for recycling, I'll go with the city. My biggest concern is the yard waste component. Over the last 20 year we have removed all of our grass and built retaining walls and planted trees and shrubs. They make oxygen AND lots of leaves. I'm in my 60s and find the paper bags hard to deal with (I have my own rolling carts for leaves). I'm hoping some entrepreneur will seize the opportunity to contract to pick up yard waste and compost it.


Alceste 2 years, 1 month ago

Alceste shall be displaying our wonderful new cart(s) smack dab in the middle of the front yard as tribute to the modernistic thinking.


irvan moore 2 years, 1 month ago

sometimes with leaves in the fall we have 50 bags at a time, how will we deal with that?


swan_diver 2 years, 1 month ago

Do folks realize that these 'commission' seats are procured via 'beauty-contest' style elections, where voter registration is around 60%, with 30% and less turn-out of that base of potential voters? Cromwell won a 4-year term on the Lawrence City Commission a few years ago, with 42% of the votes of a handful of qualified voters who participated.

The dumbed-down vacuum of cultural awareness in Lawrence is bereft of real political democracy. In this 'environment,' Cromwell represents no one but himself, and the bulk of business, banking, and real estate interests, and the education-industrial complex of the Kansas Board of Regents.


LadyJ 2 years, 1 month ago

All this "getting with the times" and we still can't pay our water bill online without paying a fee higher than the cart rental. Go figure.


irvan moore 2 years, 1 month ago

i was wondering if the diffenbach recycle carts i see all over are 35 gallon size?


webmocker 2 years, 1 month ago

“It will make us a greener and a better community, and you’re going to love yourself more as a result of it.” --Bob Schumm

I'm generally pro-recycling, pro-environment, and a fan of making externalities cost people directly, but this quote is really annoying.


lunacydetector 2 years, 1 month ago

the city sure has been scrambling to screw the citizenry after they got caught with their pants down screwing everyone on their water bill.

what do i do with my $65 hydraulic lift capable trash can???? i know because i watch the trash guys use the hydraulic lift to dump it. answer me that one city commissioners.


kuguardgrl13 2 years, 1 month ago

Sure, you can choose to ignore a new system if it's put in place, but you'll be hauling your own trash to the landfill. How about it goes up for referendum in November like the new library? Lots of people were against the new library, but enough wanted it that it got through. Lots of you claim that the current trash system is just fine, but I'd like to see it go up for a vote.


muddfoot55 2 years, 1 month ago

Seems as the trash guys have already started their choice....the trash in my traditional trash can was not picked up but the rest of my street was. And yes, it was out EARLY!
And the mobile home community I live in charges 6$ rental on city can that be? Something stinks and it ain't garbage.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

"The monthly rate is $2.00 for trash carts according to city hall a few seconds ago. That's what we have been going on two years. The plan as it stands would look like this: There will be no monthly charge for the carts. The city believes there will enough cost savings incurred that the cost of carts can be absorbed. End of conversation."

Meaning that was the end of my conversation with city hall this am = nothing more was said. Then again if city hall is going to mandate specific trash carts I feel they should provide the trash carts.

When I priced out trash carts there was a not a huge savings. It wouid require 4 years to get my money back based on $2 a month rental fee. If for some reason the cart broke and would not function any longer on any trash service vehicle I would then be renting or buying another.


oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 1 month ago

The plan looks like this merril says. Get it in writing and haved all five commissioners sign the document as well as everyone else at City Hall. Look, all they have to do is say there is no charge and then next year raise the FEE for Sanitation by $2.00 and claim it is because of higher costs. People in this town are dumb.

What about the cost for the recycling huh,merrill? What about that? They going to do it for freee?

It's about as insane as the registration fee and now claiming it doesnt' cover cost. When it was implented it was made clear it wouldn't cover costs. It was done, not to keep schools open, they closed, it was not done to have "single family" homes sold for "families' as Arly Allen believed. It was for show, it was to justify having the employees at City Hall.

This City Commission and the City Manager are the most inept business people in town. That is why they cannot attract new businesses that build buildings hire employees and add to the property tax base. Even if the tax base income increased these commissioners along with the school district would spend more than they are bringing in.

That is exactly what the commissioners are expecting the public to pony up to. Spend more than they bring in or will ever have.

They are living in a false world and will never listen to reason. The sad thing is that , they do not want to hear it.

Leave what is working alone. If they cannot, do that,then leave the city commission position.

2 good minds are better than 5 non working brains.

This issue is so disgusting and one only has to look at those who contributed to Cromwell's campaign to see why it is being pushed so hard. They all want to be remembered for something important. Sadly, in Lawrence those come very rare.

I'll take John Emick , Rusty Springer, Chuck Fisher, Marnie Argersinger, Jim Owens over this bunch. What happened to all of these candidates and graduates of Leadership Lawrence? How are they leading now? Never hear of them.

Fred Pence for common sense and Mr. Binns.

See, even got some Democrats listed. That should make the progressives happy.

Lawrence is in an iron lung and no one smart enough to unplug the thing.

Worst Commission yet. They have let the Planning Department run amuck and the moles in it along with LAN.

What's the League of Women Voters think about trash carts? Let's hear from them.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 1 month ago

Dump trucks need to be bigger to hold 4 people instead of 3. That said. 3 are overworked. The extra person will be able to rotate with the driver that gets "sleepy" while driving.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

The plan that is being discussed would look like this:

There will be NO MONTHLY CHARGE for the carts. The city believes there will be enough cost savings incurred that the cost of carts can be absorbed. This concept has not been approved as yet.

The current monthly rate is $2.00 for trash carts according to city hall this morning. That's what we have been paying going on two years.

Getaroom makes a strong argument regarding the physical impact on staff that pick up this wide variety of trash receptacles.

Most all of us have witnessed over loaded trash cans that dogs and wild animals just love to interact with... thus leaving waste products strung about. Do we expect the trash people to pick us this litter?

Going to carts should prove to be a cleaner operation by keeping litter more contained.


oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 1 month ago

If the purpose is to make the collection system more efficient then no one should pay for the city mandated cart. Simple as that. If Schumm , Cromwell, and Dever , Carter and Amyx are not smart enough to do the numbers and make this work at the present billing rate, then they are truly the most inept commissioners yet.

Next, if there are bins for glass around town, what's the purpose of a cart for recycling since the carts are not truly taking everything to be recycled.

This is a scheme and one that can pass with only three votes to get more money for the city. It is about money. It has nothing to do about service , service and service.

Notice that the utility department is called Utility Billing. The name is not Utility Services of Lawrence.

One can only hope that these commissioners find themselves in hard financial straits and have to figure out how to manage what funds they may end up. No one likes to be in that position, but this band of five do not have any common sense. If they did, why would they want to raise the trash fee on those already being subsidized in housing with rent reductions, aka Section 8 and other public housing in Lawrence.

I wonder if any one of the five have had the smarts to go to the Water Billing, aka Utiliity Billing and inquire of the supervisors about dis connections each month for delinquent bills. It might open their eyes, if they are not sleeping as usual.

Why would the city government want to increase a fee that they already cannot collect on time.?

Worst commission yet. It's all about their egos and power. They can look back in a few years while they are parked in some nursing home and realize no one will remember them.

The same with the Planning Department, which has screwed up this town royally. There is no planning. Do these employees never travel outside of Lawrence and look and see and remember what is working elsewhere, 'cause the mess they have created in Lawrence is nothing to be proud of.

Worst Commissioners ever!

I'd take John Emick and Rusty Springer and Chuck Fisher over these wannabee leaders.


Herecomesthewaterweasel 2 years, 1 month ago

Can we get some City ran Curb Side Recycling all up in this mofo?


somedude20 2 years, 1 month ago

I guess "Men at Work" (the movie) is like a bible to these tricksters!
"Aww, lookie here. Looks like somebody threw away a perfectly good white boy!"


JackMcKee 2 years, 1 month ago

Why can't I purchase my own cart? Why is renting a requirement?


Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

The monthly rate is $2.00 for trash carts according to city hall a few seconds ago. That's what we have been going on two years.

The plan as it stands would look like this: There will be no monthly charge for the carts. The city believes there will enough cost savings incurred that the cost of carts can be absorbed.

End of conversation.


Getaroom 2 years, 1 month ago

All you trash change grumps can still hug your precious and adored bent up retro galvanized trash containers all you like, plastic ones too with broken handles and lids flying off in the wind. No one is saying you can't hang on to them and do and store stinky trash in them too, just like you do now. You may even put them out at the curb. Just know that city workers will no longer be required, without freedom of choice, to lug your awkward to handle, stinking, bent up heavy cans over to the truck and hoist them up with their arms, legs and backs anymore. Feeling the love of your coveted(free?) trash can ownership? Admit it now, most of you use those cans way beyond their natural life because you are to cheap to get one that is actually decent and where is the respect for the workers in that, did you ever ask one of the workers if they love your piece of junk can, as much as you do?
How about taking ownership and responsibility for being a citizen of a community that provides services for a reasonable fee, not a profit and for all of us. "Green" does not stand for 'enemy combatant' or terrorist. Green is a term that stands for something important for all us. Being "green" and participating in it, means taking conscious action to use everything to it's fullest and being conservative of our combined resources. This is also exercising freedom of choice before it is no longer a choice and we have over filled our landfills, or run out of space. If you think being "conservative" is important, then it is vital for all of us to take responsibility for how we use resources and then what we do with them once they no longer serve their original and intended purpose. If you love your freedom of choice so much, act like it and stop being such a group of naysayers, who seem always to need a leader to whip at the post. If a poll were taken, city wide, I am betting the majority would be in favor of these proposed upgrades to our waste system. This blog is for certain not a majority representation. It is high time recycling and more efficient pick up begin to be initiated. And by the way, the trucks will need to be replaced anyway as they come to the end of their useable lives and replacing them with proper hydraulics for lifting is perfect. They are not planning to just get rid of all current trucks in service pronto and LJW readers would know that if they bothered to keep informed. Obviously most do not, they just have knee jerk responses instead.


Laura Wilson 2 years, 1 month ago

Before the city owned trash cans there were mini-dumpsters. I have one of those, have had one for ten years. I like it. It's large enough to hold a couple weeks worth of trash so if I miss trash day (which I often do as they come around 8:00 and I hate the mornings) it's fine. I've seen no mention of these being continued in use. I don't want to go to a smaller can.

That said, I'm against this whole thing anyway. For one thing, sometimes if I just have one bag, I take it to the curb and bypass the dumpster all together. And another, I don't like the loss of jobs (our trashmen are some of the best guys/gals around) and having one more thing mandated upon us.


consumer1 2 years, 1 month ago

Mayor Aron Cromwell.

is the skunk behind this aweful smell.


pizzapete 2 years, 1 month ago

“It will make us a greener and a better community, and you’re going to love yourself more as a result of it.”

Lawrence is becoming a dumb place to live and a nice place to visit. If I could sell my house I would be so out of here.


Adrienne Sanders 2 years, 1 month ago

I have a feeling that those of us who live in apartments are going to end up paying even more for a service we don't use.


saladshooter 2 years, 1 month ago

I moved from Lawrence to Oregon a few years ago. I was surprised at how efficient the trash service is here compared to Lawrence. We pay $20 per month and it includes rental of a garbage can, recycling can and a very large yard waste can. We have the option of adding another regular garbage can for a few extra dollars if we need it but we don't. We end up putting more in the recycling bin because it forces us to think twice before throwing anything away. The yard waste bins are so much better than dealing with all the trash bags full of leaves in the Fall and end up saving us money in the end. The city uses the leaves and sticks to make compost which is so much better than seeing all that good stuff go into the land fill. It's time to evolve, Lawrence.


citizen1 2 years, 1 month ago

It is amazing, the city commission is smarter than its citizens. They think they know what we will like & don't mind telling us.

We are visiting a community whose trash service uses the automated containers/trucks. The trucks are dangerous to be around with the flaying mechanical arms & the noise level is next to unbarable. You hear the ARM thrashing and truck noise continuously for blocks. It is a nightmare. This neighborhood use the automated system for both trash & recycling.

Possibly before the commission tells us what we like they should seek both input & experience.


LadyLuck 2 years, 1 month ago

A city-wide recycling program should the first think implemented. Why is that being put off? I think there are a lot of people for a city-wide recycling program, maybe we would be more on board with city-issued carts if it was for a better cause? Commissioners, give us a cause to care about and most will follow. Know your citizens.


Cwriter 2 years, 1 month ago

The Sanitation Dept does an awesome job! As our great commissioner Amyx said: they work in the snow, rain, all kinds of weather. Did anyone listen to Cromwell last night? I'm glad he reminded me of his degree because the more he spoke the more I wondered if he had any education let alone common sense. All through this journey it seems Cromwell is against the workers and is more for his business opportunities. Cromwell- there is a saying that says if it ain't broke don't fix it. AND IT'S TRUE. But Cromwell said: something about "sometimes you just need to change" HUH?! (I wish could remember exactly how he said it - but it sounded just that crazy.) I loved it when he said staff could prepare the RFP's / reports but he's sure there would be mistakes in it. WHAT!!! Even our City Manager Corliss raised his eyebrows and his mouth dropped open. WHAT!! By then Engineer Cromwell realized what he'd said, (maybe) Corliss said, "I resemble that remark. brief chuckle." Corliss you were right to be bothered by that comment. However, it's just more proof the Mayor of this wonderful city of Lawrence, doesn't care for or respect the workers of the organization. Does he really care about the citizens of Lawrence? Or is he only out for himself ... his engineering degree and all!


headdoctor 2 years, 1 month ago

We are so screwed. They used the term green. Translation means multiply the cost by 3 or 4 times and add 10% of the money that will be leaving our pockets to finance this poorly thought through mess. It will not cut down on bags. Most are not going to store raw trash in their house until it is moved to the carts. The City is sure being quiet about the cost of the robotic trucks or does this mean the only change they like is forcing people to use their carts. Replacing the truck fleet will be well into the millions.


melott 2 years, 1 month ago

  1. Did anyone ask the city workers if they want more protection?
  2. Will the city help us recycle all the old garbage cans that will be thrown away?
  3. Have the costs of (2) been included in the accounting of this "deal"?
  4. It ain't broke, so fix it.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

First off do not lay off more city workers. Blue collar workers are good use of my tax dollars!

I believe the monthly rate is $2.00 for trash carts. Do not increase these rates.

There are plus sides to these carts:

  1. Dogs,skunks and raccoons cannot tip them easily

  2. The large one can hold a ton of compostable leaves/yard material

  3. They are easy to manipulate

  4. Will not blow everywhere during aggressive wind days

  5. Can hold a ton of trash === we seldom fill ours

  6. Can hold a ton of recyclables = Don't put the self employed out of business!

Bill the owners who wastefully throw away mountains of stuff at each move out for it is not the responsibility of all others in Lawrence. I do not want to support wasteful lifestyles on my nickle.


skinny 2 years, 1 month ago

Dear City of Lawrence, I already have a trash can, I DO NOT need to rent one from you!! So please keep your trash can's!!


Lawrenceks 2 years, 1 month ago

What happened to this being a free country?? You already took our rights away with mandating that we only have one trash service in this FINE City!!!!! So now you have a monopoly on the trash service you think you can rake us across the coals???? WE would still like a choice, one that lets us pick own trash service then if we want to have the company provide us with a trash can we'll decide that, NOT YOU!!!

I think it is time for a class action law suit!


Benjamin Roberts 2 years, 1 month ago

"Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday meeting ... said they’re confident residents will grow to love the carts."

“This change will be difficult for some people, but we’ll work through it,” said City Commissioner Bob Schumm. “It will make us a greener and a better community, and you’re going to love yourself more as a result of it.”

These guys are too emotionally attached to their trash.


irvan moore 2 years, 1 month ago

what's wrong with this picture? oew is right, worst city commission ever and that's saying something, take the best working department in the city and change it. hopefully the idiots at city hall will allow people with very little trash the 35 gallon containers an have a sliding scale for payment. did anybody look at the energy costs for operating the automated trucks? mayor says he is an enviromentalist and want to fill the city with big green plastic containers and the landfills with our old containers?


Floyd Craig 2 years, 1 month ago

i think they should leave it alone they want US to pay for those carts last time I rented one it was 2.15 a month you never own them you keep paying for them the sity must be getting a kick back or the one whos pushing themone thing for sure some one is makin g money off of them


sad_lawrencian 2 years, 1 month ago

Can we leave the trash alone? The current system seems to be working (I'm sure people will disagree with me).


Mollie New Leaf 2 years, 1 month ago

I think it's weird that Gardner has a city-wide recycling program but Lawrence doesn't.


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