Six months after the city of Marysville started a new five-year contract with Republic Services, the city is still getting complaints from residents about refuse collection.
Marysville Mayor John Gore told City Council at its regular meeting Thursday, June 12, that he met June 9 with Republic's Marysville representative, Season Wall, and General Manager Ray Lewis.
"We talked about some of the complaints and some of the issues we're still dealing with and he (Lewis) was not very happy," Gore said.
Gore said in his 14 years on council and as mayor, this may be the issue that has dragged on longest without resolution.
A new workflow started Jan. 1 that reduced trash pickup to four days a week in the city, with Monday designated as the bulk pickup day.
Marysville Public Service Director Mike Andrako said after the meeting most of the trash complaints the city receives relate to two areas.
"I don't have a total, but it averages approximately five to 10 calls a day," Andrako said.
"Our two biggest issues are missed refuse and recycling (pickups), and complaints regarding bulk items sitting out for too long."
Gore said the procedure for bulk pickup is still confusing some residents. The city's first step in addressing that problem is re-education.
The new contract switched trash pickup from a manual to an automated system. Republic's vehicles are equipped with an arm that picks up the trash containers and dumps the contents into the truck.
The process requires residents to use specific receptacles, called toters, provided by Republic; they are part of the standard residential cost.
Trash collectors pick up only what is in the toters. Anything sitting next to the toters will not be picked up until the next bulk pickup day. The automation is supposed to increase efficiency.
"It's automated for a reason, so they don't get out (of the truck). If they have to pick something up, they have to get out," Gore said.
The city sent letters to 168 people who have put extra bags outside their toter for pickup.
"About half of them were just one or two times, but some were doing it consistently," Gore said. "It's OK to put the bag out, but it has to go out on the bulk pickup day if it can't go in the toter."
Andrako recommends residents call the city at 937-645-7350 to request bulk pickup. Garbage collectors are supposed to create a list throughout the week of items next to the toters for bulk pickup day.
"They are supposed to be keeping a record while they're out there. Now that doesn't assure 100 percent that it's going to get taken care of," Andrako said. "If you don't call in, my hope is we'll get it, but I can't guarantee we'll get it."
Another complaint has been the size of the toters. Residents originally received 96-gallon toters -- green for trash and blue for recycling -- but could request smaller, 65-gallon containers. However, the smaller containers are in short supply, so not everyone who wants one has received it.
Gore said city officials are working to find a way to resolve the size issue.
"I want to stress that Republic has been very good at communicating with us during this transition, and although we are frustrated by the number of calls that we continue to receive, the city is optimistic that newly implemented procedures for handling bulk pickup items and missed collection for refuse and recycling will improve the service provided to the residents," Andrako said.
The mayor said he felt positive about the meeting and believes Lewis is as interested in good customer service as he is.
For now, the city will continue to educate residents about the procedure for bulk pickup.