Staff will be redirected to recycling and other waste management efforts
Residential curbside garbage service will be cut down to once a week in an effort to ramp up recycling efforts and other under-manned functions of the city’s solid waste department.
“I’ve looked at this for three, four years now,” Larry Weaver said during a report to Valdez City Council Monday night.
Weaver, the city’s public works director, overseas the city baler, dumps and its six employees.
Under the newly proposed schedule, Tuesdays will be the designated trash day for homes “of the main in town area east of Hazelet to include Cottonwood Subdivision, Homestead Rd, Blueberry and Zook Loop Rd.,” Weaver’s report said.
Wednesday trash pickups will service the outlying areas of 0 Mile, Aleutian Village Trailer Park, Valdez Mobile Home Park, Corbin Creek Subdivision, residential areas along the Richardson Highway to the Robe River and Alpine Woods Subdivisions.
Thursdays trash route will consist of the remaining in-town area west of Hazelet.
City code gives the city manager jurisdiction over the number of days curbside trash is collected by the city’s trash truck, but the council was briefed on the proposal and gave its consent.
“..the primary reason for this change would not be financial; it would be operational,” Weaver’s written report said. “It would allow the operators to be more effective, introduce better efficiency, and ultimately make for a cleaner operation.”
Council member Mike Wells joked that he often forgot to take his trash to the curb on both pickup days and said he agreed with Weaver’s decision to reallocate manpower to other waste management functions.
“I can get by,” Wells said, “I think you made a good case.”
The plan calls for extra dumpsters to be placed in residential areas.
Weaver said he did not know if savings in fuel will be realized with the reduction, because extra dumpsters may need to be emptied more often.
There were also concerns as to whether or not a cut in curbside pickups will cause an uptick in bears seeking meals from garbage cans will increase or decrease.
Council member Karen Ables said she hoped the move could lead to a pilot program to provide a periodic curbside recycling program.
John Hozey, city manager, said recent complaints regarding DEC requirement that public access to the city’s landfill be supervised was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” in the current push to cut curbside trash pickup in order to reallocate manpower elsewhere.
“We have six people who run the solid waste department,” Weaver said, noting these city employees run the landfill, the baler facility, the recycling program and many other functions that are not fully utilized, due to the lack of manpower.
“They’re out there in the rain, snow, cold,” Weaver said. “It’s them that do it.”
City officials said there will be a large-scale effort to notify the public when the proposed changes will take effect.