City to throw out bulk trash pickup

City Council members agreed to replace the free program with one that will require residents to schedule and pay for pickup of b

City Council members agreed to replace the free program with one that will require residents to schedule and pay for pickup of b

January 22, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

The Hagerstown City Council reached a consensus Tuesday for disposal of the curbside bulk trash pickup program, replacing it with one in which residents must schedule and pay for the pickup of bulk items.

For more than a decade, Hagerstown residents each spring and fall could dispose of their unwanted appliances, furniture and other bulk trash items free of charge through the city's curbside bulk trash pickup program.

City officials said the program turns the city into an eyesore and that people from outside the city dump their trash for pickup inside the city.


Although specific days are designated for pickup in different parts of the city, trash is often put out on other nights and city workers return to pick it up, Public Works Manager Eric Deike said.

The council indicated it would adopt Deike's recommendation that would require city residents to call the Public Works Department to request a pickup. Collections would be scheduled for the first and third Wednesdays of each month.

The city will charge a basic service fee of $20 per load.

"I think it solves all the problems," Councilman Lewis Metzner said.

Metzner said the change is not the elimination of a service but an improvement: People can still have bulk items picked up, although with a fee, but they will have more control of when that happens.

If he has a broken television that no longer works, for example, he won't have to wait until spring to have it picked up, Metzner said.

Councilman Kristin Aleshire said he supports the change, not because the city has a tight budget but because the program is not working adequately.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said the council will be asked to take a formal vote on the change at a future meeting.

It cost the city about $88,000 - primarily in labor costs and county dump fees - to operate the bulk trash program last fall, Deike said.

City workers hauled more than 300 tons of bulk trash to the county landfill in the fall - an increase from the 126 tons of trash disposed of during the city's spring cleanup effort, said Deike. He attributed a portion of the increase to a new county requirement that all scrap metal be weighed at the dump.

City workers collected 155 tons of bulk trash in spring 2000, 170 tons in fall 2000, 150 tons in spring 2001 and 185 tons of bulk trash that fall, Deike said.

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