The City of Dallas may compensate some residents for missed garbage and recycling pickups.
After a trash collection schedule change implemented on December 5, several residents said the City failed to collect their trash for the entire month, reportedly causing trash cans to overflow in the street, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Dallas Sanitation Director Jay Council said that city attorneys and other officials are looking into the possibility of reimbursing residents whose trash was not collected. Nothing has been finalized, however, and the idea is still under discussion.
Council said they first must examine the idea’s potential impact on the sanitation department.
He explained that the sanitation department is “a cost recovery fund, and the fees that we charge are to cover the cost of the service.”
“But I think everyone is in agreement that if there is some refund due, we’re definitely willing to look into that,” he said.
Council said that, while the criteria for who would be eligible for reimbursement are still being determined, residents whose pickups have been missed for at least a full week would most likely be included.
The City provides trash and recycling collection services for about 245,000 homes in Dallas and has charged a monthly rate of $35.81.
Last week, Councilmember Chad West, who represents District 1, first suggested the idea of issuing reimbursements, saying the compensation could most likely be a credit to a future bill.
As the City continued to receive more complaints about missed trash pickups and residents’ accumulating garbage, West hired a private garbage service to collect trash from his constituents.
West said last week that he was driven to do so by the rush of complaints he personally received about overflowing trash.
West emailed his constituents on Saturday night encouraging them to sign up to have their garbage picked up Monday or Tuesday by the company. The pickup was paid for using West’s officeholder funds.
When a council member receives campaign donations, only $1,000 of each donation can be used for the campaign.
For example, if a council member receives a $2,000 check, $1,000 can be used for the campaign while the other $1,000 would become officeholder funds to be used for other expenses associated with the council member’s responsibilities.
West said, “This is the kind of situation that seems perfect to me to use those funds.”
The Dallas Express contacted the City for additional comment and asked what is being done to fix the current problems with the trash collection service but received no response at the time of publication.
On January 3, the City’s public relations department sent the following statement to The Dallas Express:
“We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers and appreciate their understanding as we work to improve the efficiency of our services going forward.
“Sanitation’s new recycle and garbage collection routes implemented on Monday, December 5, provide collection services over five days, Monday through Friday, rather than the previous four-day collection schedule — which will allow for more efficient use of City equipment, shorten the workday for Sanitation crews, and allow for maintenance on equipment to begin earlier each day, along with other environmental and economic benefits.
“With the new routing, Sanitation crews now have approximately 100,000 points-of-service each day between recycle and garbage collections, 20,000 fewer than under the previous route model.
“As Sanitation truck drivers are settling into their new routes, managers and supervisors are monitoring and making routing adjustments as needed to ensure timely service delivery going forward.
“Sanitation management is aware that container collection has been overlooked in some areas by drivers with limited familiarity of their new service areas, resulting in higher-than-normal complaints to 3-1-1. These oversights are being corrected.
“Additionally, Sanitation fleet availability continue to be an issue, as heavy equipment parts and labor for both the City and its outside vendors continue to be a challenge. Sanitation makes every effort to limit collection delays to recycling, and for no more than 24 hours.
“Unfortunately, limited equipment availability, high set-out volumes following the holidays, and the lingering impacts of the severe cold weather event on temporary staffing turnout compounded collection delays in some areas last week. Sanitation reset yesterday morning, beginning all Monday routes on time.”