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Published: 6/22/2010

Toledo promises program to aid elderly with trash

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Bell administration said Monday night it would take less than two weeks to fine-tune its proposed new rules for refuse collections and it also would implement a program to assist elderly and disabled Toledoans with their trash.

A Toledo City Council committee questioned the administration Monday on the tough new regulations that include ending the long-held practice of unlimited bulk pickup.

As it stands now, a bulk pickup might include any number of garbage bags at the curb, or larger items such as a major appliance.

Dave Welch, Toledo's director of public service, Monday clarified the number of calls for bulk pickup the city receives.

Last week, Mr. Welch told The Blade that the solid waste division had averaged more than 320 such calls a week.

"It was actually 320 a day, so I misspoke," he said. "But once we hit Memorial Day, that jumped to about 640 a day."

The switch to automated trash trucks allowed the trash division to use trucks with only a driver rather than the three-person crews needed to run traditional garbage trucks.

The refuse collections division is down about $3 million in costs over last year with the reduction of 57 jobs.

But the number of Toledoans calling for bulk pickups has exceeded expectations and increased the division's overtime costs.

Under the proposed rules that were to be discussed Monday, collections of oversized or bulky items are limited to one a quarter, and "citizens will have to pay $50 for any additional pickups."

Councilman Lindsay Webb, who represents Point Place and part of North Toledo, voiced surprise that more of her council colleagues did not oppose the new rules.

She called for a compromise of allowing monthly free bulk pickup.

After the Bell administration publishes the new rules, they will take effect in 30 days. A majority of council could override the administrative rules legislatively.

Under the proposed rules, "no garbage bags [outside the containers] will be collected" and "recycling participation is defined as participating in the curbside recycling program on a monthly basis. Failure to place recyclable materials at the curbside on a monthly basis may result in your removal from the recycling incentive fee program and being placed in the higher nonrecycling fee category."

The proposed rules also say residents may purchase one additional container per household for $75; holiday trees will not be collected by the division of solid waste; commercial businesses, institutions, and multifamily dwellings of five units or more will not be serviced by the city of Toledo, and the solid waste division will not collect trash or furniture left at the curb after an eviction.

Councilman Mike Craig said not collecting after an eviction would be disastrous for parts of the city with many renters.

Regarding the new "Solid Waste Accommodation Program," Mr. Welch said it would allow people to opt out of automated collection.

"The citizen would call for a form that they take to their doctor," he said. "We put them on a bulk route, which means we will pick up their collection with the older trucks."

He expects about 600 such collections a week.

"For those people who cannot get a doctor's note, Toledo Area Ministries is stepping up to put together volunteers to help them," Mr. Welch said.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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