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Christmas bounty delays trash pickup

December 29, 2005|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

HAGERSTOWN

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

The trash still sat in front of Roy Shifflett's house on Wednesday, three days after he plopped it there.

Shifflett, of Hagerstown's West End, said he took the garbage out Monday, thinking it would be gone Tuesday.

But there was so much post-Christmas trash lining the curbs in Hagerstown, the city had to push trash pickup back a day, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said.

Garbage in parts of the southern end of Hagerstown was removed on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. Much of that trash sat out for days, as many residents missed notices that appeared in The Herald-Mail and on television, city officials said.

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"This is the worst of it," Tissue said. "After today, things will really tone down."

Garbage is normally removed from the South End of Hagerstown on Tuesdays and Fridays. Pickup in the North End is Monday and Friday.

All of the garbage is supposed to be off the street by 11 a.m., Tissue said, but trash removal in the north end didn't wrap up until late Tuesday.

Bags of garbage sat in Shifflett's neighborhood well after 11:30 a.m. He walked his dog, Dallas, a bichon frise, through heaps of it on Wednesday.

"I kind of understand with the holiday and all, there's usually a day delay," Shifflett said. "You have to be kind of patient."

At around noon, crews were just getting to Maryland Avenue, in Hagerstown's South End.

By around 7 p.m. Wednesday, the Herald-Mail was told that trash still had not been removed from a section of the West End.

Officials from Allied Waste Services, which handles the city's trash removal, said the extra garbage meant more trips to and from the landfill, which causes delays.

At this time last year, Allied Waste Services, formerly called BFI Waste Systems, picked up 629 tons of garbage, 36 percent more garbage than a typical week, Tissue said.

Alena Castle, who handles Allied's county and residential accounts, said the company could not put more trucks on the streets to offset delays.

"We're already maxed out," Castle said.

By late Wednesday morning, Tissue said his office had taken more than 100 garbage-related calls. Tissue said his office received more than 300 phone calls this time last year.

The city is scheduled to collect Christmas trees at people's curbs Jan. 3 through 6.

The Hagerstown City Council recently agreed to a new contract with Allied for general trash pickup and recycling, which will include plastic, glass and aluminum starting Jan. 1.

With the expanded services, residents will pay a higher quarterly trash fee. Rates will go up from $27 to $35.75 starting in January.

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