Yard debris clogs streets

By Staff
SAFETY RISK Piles of tree limbs and yard debris line the roads in residential areas throughout Meridian, even covering a fire hydrant on 45th Street. Photo by Penny Randall/The Meridian Star
By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
May 4, 2001
Rapidly growing piles of yard debris obstructing streets in residential areas have Meridian City Council members wondering about their new garbage contract with Waste Management.
Council members negotiated with Waste Management for almost two months last year before approving the current contract. At the time, councilmen say, avoiding sharp increases in prices by commingling waste seemed like a good idea.
Fly in the ointment
The commingling agreement allowed Waste Management workers to cut down on costs by collecting garbage and yard waste at the same time.
Waste Management's on-site manager, Billy Porter, said the new agreement also put strict limitations on how yard waste is picked up.
The contract calls for limbs to be no longer than 4 feet in length and 2 inches in diameter. Mayor John Robert Smith asked the company expand its diameter requirements to take limbs up to 4 inches in diameter. Waste Management then agreed to the request despite the contract stipulations.
Council accepts blame
Smith laid the blame for the collection debacle on the shoulders of the council.
Porter said he is willing to cooperate, but there are many addresses where limbs longer than the maximum 4 feet have been put out.
Frustration mounts
Smith and Porter aren't alone in their frustration over a contract that has caused some streets to look more like federal disaster areas rather than urban neighborhoods.
Residents have also voiced many complaints about the unsightly messes clogging city arteries.
At Wednesday's work session, council members pondered the possibility of renegotiating the contract with Waste Management. Though no formal action has been taken other than a letter from the council being sent to Waste Management some members see re-negotiation as one of the only solutions.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.

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