Garbage routes will run north, south

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lewisburg's City Council on Tuesday night sanctioned a complete reorganization of the trash collection schedule and garbage truck routes for all 11,000 residents of the city.

East and West Commerce Streets will be the dividing line for two broad areas with collection routes starting in April, City Manager Eddie Fuller announced after the Council accepted a recommendation from the Curbside Recycling Committee.

Collections of recyclable paper, plastic and metal began last spring in the southwest quadrant of the city and since then, the recycling committee's chairwoman, Barbara Woods, has reported "great demand" for expansion of the program across town.

"To do that with efficiency, we need to reorganize the garbage routes," Woods told the Council when introducing the change recommended by the committee she leads. "We'd like your support on that, knowing you will get the calls from disgruntled people."

Mayor Bob Phillips asked the Council if members felt there should be a vote on the change and that prompted City Manager Eddie Fuller to explain the new system.

* North of Commerce Street - Garbage will be collected on Tuesdays and recyclables will be collected on Thursday.

* South of Commerce Street - Garbage will be collected on Wednesdays and recyclables will be collected on Fridays.

Twice a week garbage collection will be succeeded by trash removal only one day a week, but recyclable materials will be taken away when placed in special carts that will be provided by the city.

"We're trying to stay away from collection on Mondays because that's when most of the holidays are," Councilwoman Quinn Brandon said.

Woods has presented demonstrations that if residents place recyclable materials in a separate container, then they need only one weekly collection of garbage.

Councilman Odie Whitehead Jr. asked if the city will be making its own announcements and Fuller replied that a public information campaign might start late this winter or in the spring.

"There will be public meetings," Phillips added.

"So," Whitehead concluded, residents "will know what to expect."

Lewisburg will probably be spending nearly $100,000 on the containers for recyclables. The city received a $25,000 state grant and budgeted $75,000 in its current annual budget.

By summer, each home in the city will probably have a cart with wheels, a handle and a hinged top. It's to be used for recyclable materials only.

Whitehead seconded Brandon's motion to accept the Curbside Recycling Committee's recommendation for the revised collection schedule and collection days.

Lewisburg has about 4,300 homes and settling on that figure was part of the work accomplished by City Hall staff and the curbside committee. The number is higher than expected, thereby raising questions about whether changing routes, schedules and the kind of service is possible after the current system was developed during decades of experience.

Public Works Superintendent Kenny Ring "is risking his job by saying we can do this on-schedule," the city manager said in a tone to reflect good natured kidding among city officials.

"The first day will be April 2," Fuller said of the new schedule.