VOL. 133 | NO. 144 | Friday, July 20, 2018
Strickland Announces Plan for Every Other Week Curbside Yard Waste Pick Up
By Bill Dries
UPDATE: Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced Friday, July 20, that the city plans to make the solid waste section of the city public works division its own division. And he announced a transition to every other week curbisde pickup of yard waste by the city starting in October.
That will follow a transition in which Waste Pro fills out the remaining year on Inland Waste's contract with the city and the city beefs up its equipment as well as filling vacant positions in solid waste.
Strickland estimates that will cost $6 million to $15 million that would come out of city reserves that currently total $90 million.
He takes the plan to Memphis City Council members Tuesday for discussion and approval.
The use of reserve funds is to get the new system in place and running for approximately a year before the city decides if the household fee of $22.80 a month that pays for solid waste service by the city should be raised.
The city of Memphis is ending its contract with Inland Waste ahead of the end of the current contract next year to pick up garbage for about 35,000 customers in Cordova and Hickory Hill.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Thursday, July 19, on a Facebook post that he decided to terminate the contract because the company’s solid waste service “remains unacceptable” and he termed the ending of the contract “a significant step toward fixing trash pickup.”
A clause in the contract gives the city the right to terminate it within 30 days.
“We are in the process of contracting with a new provider to fill the remainder of the Inland contract, and we’ll be putting the long-term contract out for bid later this year,” Strickland wrote.
“This is just one of a handful of ways we’ll be fixing trash service citywide.”
Strickland said he plans to announce more steps at a Friday press conference.
The administration announced in May that it would put a new multi-year contract out for requests for qualifications in the fall and that Inland was free to submit as part of the process. Strickland was also talking about larger changes to waste pickup, particularly yard waste pickup by city crews as well as Inland.
He told the Memphis Rotary Club in May that the system is “broken” and that many city residents don’t know they are supposed to call to schedule pickup of such curbside waste and that the city and Inland then have 21 days to pick it up.
Memphis City Council members have also argued that the 21-day rule doesn’t meet the expectations of city residents who otherwise have their trash in containers picked up on a weekly basis.
The president of Inland’s parent company, Bobcat North America, complained in a June email to The Daily News that his company was being “thrown under the bus” by Strickland.
“Memphis has not paid our April and May bills and we are finishing the month of June this week,” Billy Dietrich wrote in the email. “I ask you, would you be working while not getting paid for a job???? We continue to do a professional job day in/day out while being thrown under a bus that we had no part of!!!”
The city has had complaints about Inland’s service before that prompted it to put the firm on probation in 2015. And the city of Germantown terminated its contract with Inland in 2014 over similar problems.
Dietrich said that was all before Bobcat bought Inland in May 2016.
“That had nothing to do with us and Bobcat North America has had a fantastic service record for the two years we have owned the operation,” Dietrich wrote.
“We have made many upgrades to the facility and have spent millions on equipment upgrades. Again, not sure why the mayor and others don’t understand who we are and what we stand for.”
Dietrich also said in addition to the 21-day period to pick up curbside yard waste, Inland has another week to pick up solid waste.
“So again we are in compliance and always have been,” he added.
City communications chief Ursula Madden responded to the criticism by saying “Inland has repeatedly failed at its job – just go ask anyone in Cordova.”