The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 17, 2013

Pittsburg task force members reach consensus on trash issue

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni

PITTSBURG, Kan. — After months of discussion, local trash haulers and city officials reached consensus Thursday night on how solid waste collection within the city limits should operate.

Residents likely will notice no change, unless they violate city ordinance and do not subscribe to a trash service.

The 20-member task force, which included local haulers, representatives of the county landfill and recycling center, city officials, Pittsburg State University officials and others, chose to recommend a nonexclusive, open market system. Just as the current system allows, customers will choose their haulers and the haulers will bill their customers, with no administrative oversight from the city.

However, the system includes stricter code enforcement that will mean a cooperative effort by the city and the haulers. The recommendation stipulates that the city provide haulers a list of all residents with water meters. Each month, haulers are to compare that list with their customer list — including additions, deletions and no-pays — to determine which residents are violating the city ordinance. The haulers are to notify the city of those violations.

Residents who are in violation will be noted on the city’s water meter list as not having trash service and will be issued a citation by the city. That, according to Public Works Director Bill Beasley, most likely will result in a fine assessed through municipal court.

The mechanism for reporting, whether online or on paper and on which date, is yet to be determined. Haulers noted that their billing cycles differ, and they have some customers who have special arrangements for payment — including one who exchanges eggs from his chickens for trash service. The task force agreed that the haulers can work with city officials to iron out those details and could use their own judgment in some instances, such as if a resident shares trash service with a family member next door.

The task force’s recommendation will be presented to the City Commission on Tuesday night for consideration, according to City Manager Daron Hall, who was a member of the task force.

The task force also discussed disposal of bulk items, but decided against including it in the recommendation because there are numerous methods already in place and available to residents. These include a free drop-off each month at the SEK Recycling Center, curbside pickup by arrangement with haulers, and disposal at local transfer stations and landfills. The task force did recommend a public awareness campaign to inform residents.

The task force also discussed the possibility of waivers for those who are unable to pay and the scheduling of routes in order to avoid multiple pickups on one street on a given day. Most were in agreement that those issues did not have a place in the recommendation.

Task force member Nathan Beaman, who operates Beaman’s Trash Service, remained the lone dissenting voice through most of the discussions, noting that he favored the system remaining status quo.

Charlie Maransani, of Short’s Trash Service, seemed satisfied.

“We’re glad we’re still haulers, and people get to pick and choose,” he said. “We get to continue with private industry, and that’s good.”

Chris Norris, whose family has operated Norris Trash Service since 1979, agreed.

“We got to control our own rates, and people still have the right to choose, so overall we’re pretty pleased,” Norris said.

Coming up

THE CITY COMMISSION will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Beard-Shanks Law Enforcement Center, 201 N. Pine St., after a 4 p.m. special meeting to discuss a proposed partnership with Pittsburg State University. Both meetings will be televised on local Channel 6.