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Published: Thursday, 6/28/2007

City of Toledo to skip holiday trash pickup

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Some Toledoans will go two weeks before their garbage is collected, and a few think the situation stinks.

Under an austerity plan, the Finkbeiner administration plans to try skipping holiday trash pickup rather than adding an overtime day to the week.

Next Wednesday Independence Day will be the city s first experiment with skipping one day s pickup until the next week. It also means that Toledoans, who have been used to uninterrupted weekly trash collection since at least 1983, will have to adjust to the occasional no-trash pickup week.

Residents in the Central City, Old Orchard, and the Old South End will have to wait until July 11 before another refuse truck lumbers down their block.

That don t sound too good, said Erma Blakely, proprietor of the $1.50 Plus Food Mart at 1312 Nebraska Ave., yesterday when told of the plan. She usually sets out five containers of trash.

William McNeil on Nebraska does garbage duty for two houses but says he s unconcerned over skipping trash pickup. William McNeil on Nebraska does garbage duty for two houses but says he s unconcerned over skipping trash pickup.
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But William McNeil, 63, who lives on the same block of Nebraska and who sets out trash for two houses, said a one-week delay won t be a big inconvenience. I ll just wait and let it build up. It won t be that much, he said.

Julian Highsmith, the commissioner of solid waste, said the move will save the city $40,000 for each overtime day.

We have to reduce our cost to the citizens and save as much money as we can because we do have a budget deficit, Mr. Highsmith said.

The city s standard practice is to pay overtime to refuse workers for 13 city holidays, either to work the holiday itself or to work on the Saturday after the holiday.

We re looking at each holiday as it comes. We re looking at how other cities do it so we can evenly spread it out, Mr. Highsmith said, citing Columbus as a model Toledo could imitate.

Hannelore Schueler on Goddard Road doesn t mind, either, that her pickup was put off. She suggested,
though, that the public show their appreciation to the workers who will miss overtime pay. Hannelore Schueler on Goddard Road doesn t mind, either, that her pickup was put off. She suggested, though, that the public show their appreciation to the workers who will miss overtime pay.
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Columbus uses color-coded collection days, rather than permanent days of the week, said Mary Webster, assistant director of public service for Columbus. When a holiday occurs, everybody s trash collection rotates forward one day. If a holiday falls on Friday, that day s collection moves to Monday and stays there, until the next holiday when collection days rotate forward again.

Ms. Webster said residents won t miss a week of refuse pickup and the city doesn t have to pay overtime.

Edward McKinney, 59, of Greening Road, near Scott Park, said the combination of missing a week of trash collection and having to pay the new trash fee is unfair. Toledo is implementing a $5.50 monthly fee $3 for people who pledge to recycle.

It s a bunch of malarkey, Mr. McKinney said as he toted his trash bins back to his garage yesterday. It ll be an inconvenience to any household that s got garbage because it ll be smelling.

In Old Orchard, Hannelore Schueler, 80, and Evelyn Yeager, 66, who live across Goddard Road from each other, said they ll tolerate the inconvenience.

Some people when they have a lot of children and especially at Christmas might get upset, Mrs. Schueler said. As far as I m concerned they could pick it up every other week.

She suggested the public show their appreciation to refuse workers who will lose overtime pay.

Mrs. Yeager said people should make adjustments so they have less trash, such as not using disposable plates and utensils.

A lot of times people use paper plates in the summertime, and that s a lot of trash. You can learn to be a little more conservative, Mrs. Yeager said.

Greg Kneller, a longtime city refuse worker and longtime former Teamsters Local 20 chief steward, said abandoning weekly trash collection, even if only rarely, violates a promise made when the renewable 0.75-percent income tax was first enacted in 1983.

He said the city, then under fiscal constraints, had reverted to biweekly trash collection, and won passage of the renewable income tax by promising weekly collection.

What they re doing I think is a disservice to the citizens, Mr. Kneller said. People have supported us on the three-quarter percent. That was to go to weekly pickup.

Contact Tom Troy at:tomtroy@theblade.comor 419-724-6058.



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