The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 6, 2012

City schedules public hearing to consider trash service

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni

PITTSBURG, Kan. — City officials have scheduled a public hearing for Nov. 13 before the City Commission considers adopting a resolution for an organized residential trash collection service.

Trash companies that serve Pittsburg first met with city officials two weeks ago to hear their ideas for such a plan. Within a few days, they had expressed their displeasure in emails to customers and via social media, and a picket was organized outside of City Hall by customers.

On Wednesday, trash companies that service Pittsburg received a letter from the city notifying them of the public hearing. The letter outlines 14 goals the city would like to meet with the resolution.

Among the city’s goals: Clean up residential neighborhoods; eliminate dumping of trash in vacant lots, Dumpsters and the sanitary sewer system; ensure every residence has trash collection service; reduce wear and tear on city streets caused by multiple trash collection vehicles operating in the same areas; consider residential uniform trash carts so all are the same; and consider curbside recycling.

The city’s goals also include establishing a uniform solid waste disposal fee and billing system, and determine whether a franchise fee should be collected by the city for administering such a system.

Locally owned trash companies have said such a plan, which city officials have indicated would include a bid process, most likely would put them out of business. By Thursday evening, they had drafted written responses to each goal, and again shared them with their customers via email and on social media.

“It would be pretty hard for smaller haulers to compete,” said Chris Norris, whose family started Norris Trash Service in 1979.

According to City Manager Daron Hall, 30 percent of the city’s residents do not subscribe to a trash service. Hall said the city would like to make trash services a part of residential utilities, added to the fees residents pay for sewer and water. To do so, state law mandates a municipality’s governing body first approve a resolution of intent and then engage in a 22-month process.

The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in the courtroom of the Beard-Shanks Law Enforcement Center, 201 N. Pine St.

Making introductions

Representatives and supporters of each of the town’s locally owned trash companies attended the Sept. 25 City Commission meeting. None spoke during the public input portion of the meeting, but they met individually with city commissioners and the city manager following the meeting. “We’re just here to get to know them better and let them know who we are,” said Carol Maransani, whose family owns Short’s Trash Service.