Archive for Friday, January 27, 2012

Trash task force tries to dispose of concerns

John Harjo pushes a trash bin while members of the city's Solid Waste Task Force observe, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The task force took a tour to learn more about of Lawrence trash and recycling operations.

John Harjo pushes a trash bin while members of the city's Solid Waste Task Force observe, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The task force took a tour to learn more about of Lawrence trash and recycling operations.

January 27, 2012

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One week after being pelted with concerns from Lawrence residents, the city’s Solid Waste Task Force on Thursday said it heard them loud and clear.

Then the group spent most of its meeting Thursday evening developing a document explaining why the city should move ahead with major changes to its trash and recycling systems anyway.

Task force members last week hosted their largest public forum yet on draft recommendations that would require all single-family households to start using special plastic carts for their trash, and would require residents to pay for a citywide curbside recycling service.

Here’s a look at how the task force responded to what it said were several of the major concerns brought up at last week’s forum:

• “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While task force members stopped short of saying the city’s current trash system is broken, they said it could be improved quite a bit. Some task force members mentioned financial problems with the service. For example, as late as 2008 the city’s auditor found the service was operating at an annual loss of about $500,000. The department’s finances have improved since then, but there have been questions about whether the current system has relied too heavily on deferring equipment purchases and reduced staffing.

Plus, Mayor Aron Cromwell — who chairs the task force — said the city is trying to accomplish some important goals by changing the service.

“We’re trying to be safer for our workers, more cost effective, and increase our recycling rate,” Cromwell said. “That’s really what we’re trying to accomplish.”

• Trash carts: Concern about where to store the trash carts has been significant. Task force members said experience in other communities suggests that if you are able to store your trash can inside your garage currently, you’ll be able to find a way to store a trash cart in your garage as well. In other words, they take up about the same amount of space. If you store your trash can outside currently, you’ll probably store your cart outside too. Several task force members said that would be an improvement.

“There are a lot of garbage cans sitting outside today,” said Joe Harkins, a member of the task force. “These carts probably will be better looking than many of the pieces of junk that are out there now.”

The task force has said the carts are essential to improving the efficiency and safety of the system. The carts will allow the city to use more trucks with hydraulic lifts, eliminating the need for workers to physically lift trash bags or cans.

• Cost: Task force members said they understand residents are nervous about how much more the service may cost. The task force is confident the new mandated carts won’t result in an increased monthly trash rate. That’s because the city is expecting workers’ compensation claims to fall significantly. But adding a new citywide, curbside recycling program will come with a cost.

The task force doesn’t know how much yet. Instead, it is recommending the City Commission receive bids on the service and also calculate how much it would cost city crews to run the system. Cromwell said he’s confident if the costs are “too high,” commissioners won’t approve the new system.

The task force also said it had heard concerns about forcing people to pay for curbside recycling service regardless of whether they use the service. But several task force members said the situation wasn’t different than the city’s current yard waste program. All single-family households pay for the yard waste program as part of their monthly bill, regardless of whether they use the service.

The task force is scheduled to hold a short meeting Tuesday to give approval to its final report. Cromwell said city commissioners likely will then schedule a study session with the task force to discuss the recommendations. City commissioners will make all final decisions on changes to the system.

Comments

Alceste 4 years, 7 months ago

Despite the fact the "decions have already been made": That is to say the "public forum" was but for window dressing:

Why not call, write, or email the hand picked rich folks who are making the decisions for you? Couldn't hurt. I think calling these people at 1am and 2am is a really good time to express your thoughts because these hand picked, I agree with the already made decision people probably think best at that time. shrug

http://www.lawrenceks.org/advisorybds...

Contact 'em:

Aron Cromwell, Mayor

P.O. Box 708, 66044

Email: aroncromwell@gmail.com

832.3400

City Commission Representative +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

William Beeson, Sanitation Division Loader

P.O. Box 708, 66044

Email: beestoyeast@gmail.com

Sanitation Division +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Suzi Cammon

2909 Stratford, 66049

Email: scammie80@hotmail.com

843.7566 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Joe Harkins

1713 Troon Lane, 66047

Email: occupant@sunflower.com

841.1703 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Daniel Poull

821 Ohio, 66044

Email: dpjp8@yahoo.com

749.5578 Sustainability Advisory Board ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sam Porritt

4513 Goldfield, 66049

Email: samporritt@aol.com

550.8129 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Ralph Reed

50 Winona Avenue, 66046-4848

Email: reedrmail-ttf@yahoo.com

691.7181 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Charlie Sedlock

1101 Wagon Wheel Road, 66049

Email: csedlock@nrhamm.com

749.5799 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Jeff Severin

Center for Sustainability

320 Carruth-O’Leary

1246 West Campus Road, 66045

Email: jseverin@ku.edu 864.5804 University of Kansas Sustainability Office ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Christine Tomlin

1016 Hilltop Drive, 66049

Email: cblisstomlin@earthlink.net

843.1624 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Dan Wethington

3124 Campfire Ct., 66049

Email: dan.wethington@bartwest.com

841.6942 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Getaroom 4 years, 7 months ago

This grand idea of yours has always been an option, respectfully calling or writing, that is! Perhaps you will be willing to publish your phone number and name as well. Guess you are glad you do not live in Hutchinson where this system has been working beautifully for many years now and saving money and keeping more trash out of the landfill, more money saved. Wonder why you did not volunteer to be on the task force - stubborn, uninformed, hateful, anti recycling, entrenched in your own small world? Next time an issue of this obvious importance comes up, get your self busy and volunteer. Or are you another one of those "get government out of my trash Tea Partiers?
In that case, don't bother signing up for anything and refuse to pay for your refuse, keep your trash inside where it, and you, can grow to love and hate each other. Hoard trash by all means!

JackMcKee 4 years, 7 months ago

Hutchinson's solid waste is not the same as the one Cramwell is recommending. Cramwell's is far more intrusive and overbearing. I guess you like that.

gatekeeper 4 years, 7 months ago

Unlike Hutch, a large portion of residents already recycle and we have a recycling center in town we can take it to and not have to pay a cent. I doubt you had that, did you? We also have local businesses that will pick up recycling from your home for a very cheap price if you don't want to drive to the recycling center. The city will be putting local businesses out of service and will require residents to pay for something they already do for free.

You can't compare little Hutch to Lawrence.

Alceste 4 years, 7 months ago

Getaroom:

I one of those who volunteers all the time to be appointed to any number of "official city of Lawrence boards and commissions" but am never selected because I'm not connected...but more importantly, I'm not beholding to any body, so my "vote" isn't known ahead of time. Curious business, eh? These hick, ward heel "politicians" don't want diversity of thought on any of "their" panels....they want head bobbers and yes people who understand said board or commission is simply window dressing for a decision that has already been made but requires the semblance of "objectivity and study".

It's a closed club when it comes to "serving" on any of these "city generated think tanks". I ain't in the club. Don't want to be either.

Kate Rogge 4 years, 7 months ago

The fix is already in LONG before they call for a public discussion. So if the current system "has relied too heavily on deferring equipment purchases and reduced staffing," the answer is to buy new equipment, eliminate staffing, and force everyone to rent new bins. And for those brilliant decisions they needed a task force? And a pubic discussion they've ignored?

Christine Pennewell Davis 4 years, 7 months ago

one of those automated trucks came thrue our neighborhood tuesday and the guys where still having to get out and put the cans in the right spot so the truck could get to it. Plus in the time it took the truck to pick one can up the regular trucks could have gotten thru about 3 to 4 houses in the same time this is a waste of jobs and money and time, it will take till sundown just to get the trash picked up let alone any recycle bins that are out not worth it.

somedude20 4 years, 7 months ago

Garbage?

I'm only happy when it rains I'm only happy when it's complicated And though I know you can't appreciate it I'm only happy when it rains You know I love it when the news is bad Why it feels so good to feel so sad I'm only happy when it rains

Pour your misery down Pour your misery down on me Pour your misery down Pour your misery down on me

I'm only happy when it rains I feel good when things are going wrong I only listen to the sad, sad songs I'm only happy when it rains

I only smile in the dark My only comfort is the night gone black I didn't accidentally tell you that I'm only happy when it rains You'll get the message by the time I'm through When I complain about me and you I'm only happy when it rains Pour your misery down...pour your misery down Pour your misery down on me...pour your misery down Pour your misery down...pour your misery down Pour your misery down on me...pour your misery down Pour your misery down...pour your misery down Pour your misery down on me...pour your misery down Pour your misery down...pour You can keep me company As long as you don't care

I'm only happy when it rains You want to hear about my new obsession I'm riding high upon a deep depression I'm only happy when it rains...pour some misery down on me I'm only happy when it rains....pour some misery down on me I'm only happy when it rains...pour some misery down on me I'm only happy when it rains...pour some misery down on me I'm only happy when it rains...pour some misery down on me...pour some misery down on me...pour some misery down on me...pour some misery down on me,

classclown 4 years, 7 months ago

"One week after being pelted with concerns from Lawrence residents, the city’s Solid Waste Task Force on Thursday said it heard them loud and clear."

Then using a word not suitable for print in the LJWorld, told them what to do with themselves.

Chris Ogle 4 years, 7 months ago

4 sail cheep......one experienced trash can

irvan moore 4 years, 7 months ago

will all the old trash cans end up in landfills?

pace 4 years, 7 months ago

Have you ever tried to throw an old trash can away? Tough.

gatekeeper 4 years, 7 months ago

I like that. Since part of their concern is the look of trash cans, I think I'll paint mine every color of the rainbow and put sparkles all over it that reflect in the sunlight!

gatekeeper 4 years, 7 months ago

I like that. Since part of their concern is the look of trash cans, I think I'll paint mine every color of the rainbow and put sparkles all over it that reflect in the sunlight!

David Reynolds 4 years, 7 months ago

The cost factor is a major problem. Why should costs increase to residents at all?

The cost savings from reduced dump fees do not seem to be considered due to increases in recycling.

With savings on labor, workers compensation insurance, benefits (retirement, health ins, vacation, etc) do not seem to be adequately considered.

This change is predicated on reduced costs, please tell us why costs should increase?

The city does not seem to be able to do anything that doesn't end up costing we citizens something.

Terry Sexton 4 years, 7 months ago

Aw,rubbish. I shoulda listened when dad told me to go into the mandated cart business.

George Lippencott 4 years, 7 months ago

Why do these arguments seem to inevitably break down to saving the planet or despoiling it? What about –

  1. Mandate recycling but allow us to pick our own means of doing so. Small households and lower income people could continue to use the various recycling points around the town. The rest of us could use the current systems we use. The majority of us seem to prefer that so why does the task force want a one size fits all government solution? Many venues our size do it as I propose.

  2. Require the standard carts for all homes using containers larger than say 30lbs. Those who generate little trash could then use a commercial cart or we could provide a smaller cart that interfaces with the lift?

  3. If we are deferring maintenance we should raise rates and recover before it gets really costly. This is a no brainer and should not be part of the task forces agenda or justification.

  4. Since we are in a rush to do this and therefore have neglected commercial and large residential units maybe we should make the report an interim one and send the group back to address the rest of the recycling challenge. Why should we wrap the 10% at the bottom while excusing the 1% at the top? Lawrence is better than that.

  5. If we continue to plan an expanded recycling program we could then revisit the single provider solution if that is desired by the majority in the future. We could also get a handle on our recycling rates and identify areas needing additional focus.

Are we in a hurry because Mr. Cromwell’s term ends soon? Come-on, recycling is more important than any one individual.

As far as being on the task force – I was not asked. I have shared my input.

seriouscat 4 years, 7 months ago

You see this is all about who knows who, and over here you got favoritism.

irvan moore 4 years, 7 months ago

we could do away with our concerns if they would do away with the task force

Jalley 4 years, 7 months ago

The mayor owns an environmental consulting company. It will be interesting to see who gets the bid for all of these bins. Hmmm......could it be somebody he does busy with? We need to keep an eye on him. Follow the money! Looks to me that its a conflict of interest.

JackMcKee 4 years, 7 months ago

you're not paranoid if they are actually out to get you

cummingshawk 4 years, 7 months ago

Okay kids, you got your say, now go play while the grown-ups finish this report. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, he is only a kindly advisor with nary an ounce of pecuniary interest in forcing change to the handling of our solid waste for our own good, take your medicine and be quiet. A full financial accounting will be available after passage of the dictated [To prescribe with authority; impose: dictated the rules of the game.] changes, errrr, recommendations......

waitjustaminute 4 years, 7 months ago

Ditto, ditto, ditto all the comments here about being against this. I recycle. It's my choice. It would be good if more folks would too. However, making it mandated? No choice? Shut up and go away? No wonder people hate the Federal government for all the mandated rulings. If this is how democracy works on the local level, no wonder things in D.C., are more screwed up than they have been in about a ba-zillion years!

pace 4 years, 7 months ago

Could of done without the dissing of the old trash cans. That said, I love my cart, much nicer and easier to handle than the old trash can. Very animal proof and our crew just hooks it and dumps. I don't think the argument about worker safety should be ignored, especially by people who don't lift trash for a living.
Curbside collection makes sense to me, I have wanted it for years. About time. Trash costs are going to change, if we plan for them or deny and try to live in the past. Our landfill is no longer locally owned, gas isn't going to get cheaper, recycle markets are gaining strength. We should design our; collection for what is going to happen, not how things were 20 years ago. I don't agree curbside collection should include glass but every home and business in this town has paper and paperboards that should go to recycling, most homes have some metal. It is past time when we can treat resources as trash. Papers and metals will and do contribute to manufacturing and industry. It is time to make planned changes rather than cry sentimental nonsense about what ain't broke. Do we let it break and say, oh we didn't know gas was going up, that landfill costs were rising, that manufacturing and industry could make jobs, products with what we use to throw away. Don't dismiss the long range environmental savings, the energy savings. We need to change, now. We have had great luck in our trash collection, good workers, usually good management, but costs are going up, we need to change, we can plan it or play oops, let it run over us.

gorilla 4 years, 7 months ago

I think this issue is someone's pet idea turned into solution looking for a problem. The esthetics of trash cans at the curb is not a problem sufficient to warrant this whole fiasco of task force.

pace 4 years, 7 months ago

I knew it was a mistake for the guy to dis the old trash cans. There is your focus, one remark. Nothing about safety, nothing about recycling, about changing costs. You now feel insulted about your can. It is all about you, ignore the rising costs, the safety, the changing nature of disposal. It is all about you and your trash can. well some of us don't think of a trash can as symbolic of our manhood. I prefer to drive a 1968 green Ferrari , unhappily it is up on blocks in some one else's yard in some other state. Every home in this town is tossing perfectly recyclable paper into our trash, and we are trucking it over 11 miles to bury it by the ton. It could go into the positive, making jobs, making products, reducing pollution.

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