Archive for Thursday, October 25, 2007

Council gives early nod to trash service changes

October 25, 2007

The De Soto City Council gave an informal nod to Weldon Enterprise Inc.'s request to change its trash service.

The change -- which will add $2.25 to the monthly residential rate when the company's new contract starts Feb. 1, 2008 -- will place a 95-gallon, wheeled container at most households, although smaller 65-gallon containers will be available for seniors at a discounted rate.

Kevin Weldon, speaking for his father Lloyd and brother Randy, said the trash service already has introduced the new program in Eudora and the trash service he operated in Tonganoxie. The change will make it possible for the company to move to automated collection, Weldon said. The benefit to De Soto would be less trash on the streets from wind or dogs, he said.

"It's just a cleaner, uniform look," Weldon said.

The company would eventually only pickup trash placed in the wheeled containers, Weldon said. Those households that consistently exceeded the 95-gallon capacity of the containers would be encouraged to added a 65-gallon container for an additional $3 a month, he said.

The new service was introduced in Eudora with a three-week acclimation period during which Weldon trucks would pick up trash in older containers or bags, Weldon said.

There were some complaints in Eudora from those concerned about the capacity of the new containers, the additional cost for seniors and those "who don't like change," Weldon said.

The company would continue to offer the once-a-month oversized pickup and the recycling dumpster at the former Morses' Market, he said

The company would replace the containers if they were defective or stolen but customers were be responsible if the containers were harmed through a their negligence.

"You wouldn't expect the trash service to replace your garbage can if you ran over it with your car," he said.

Council concerns echoed those voiced in other communities in which the service had been introduced, Weldon said. Those included the added cost of the service for the elderly and the capacity of the containers.

A family's waste could be reduced by recycling, and Weldon speculated that much of the extra material at Christmas, such as boxes and wrappings, could be recycled.

At the request of City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle that the company provide numbers for curbside recycling, Weldon estimated the company could provide the service at the cost of $3-a-month per customer . The cost would be passed on to all De Soto customers whether or not they participated in the program.

Guilfoyle said that was in the upper range of what nearby communities were paying for curbside recycling, but agreed with Weldon's assessment that De Soto's smaller numbers drove the cost of the service up. Weldon said the distance to a recycling center also made it more expensive to provide the service in De Soto.

Councilwoman Mitra Templin, who asked Guilfoyle to explore the curbside recycling option, agreed the cost was too much, especially if imposed on customers who would not participate. She also noted that more plastics and cardboard materials could be recycled at the Weldon's dumpster than in a curbside program.

However, Weldon said he would be open to add curbside recycling during the contract's five-year lifespan if market conditions changed and the service could be introduced at an affordable rate.

Although no formal vote was taken last Thursday, council members expressed satisfaction with the service Weldon is providing in the community and willingness to extend the company's contract another five years with the change in service the the company suggested. The contract will be formally adopted before February 2008.

"Just for the record after looking at the cost of service in nearby communities, De Soto is well served by Weldon's," Guilfoyle said.

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