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City sanitation struggles to maintain schedule

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West Memphis still working through cleanup efforts

By JOHN RECH

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West Memphis City Council members on the Public Works Commission heard reports about citywide cleanup efforts and sanitation equipment availability during its May meeting. Public Works Director Michael Bonner provided the status for renewing the Smart-City Rubicon contract and the proposed rate increase for commercial dumpster services.

Trash collection with grapple trucks remained a business day or two behind schedule as the month started despite truck availability. Four of the five claw trucks stood ready to grab yard debris from the street sides in the city.

Bonner listed all three front end loaders for commercial bins in service. In additional all four of the old rear end loading garbage trucks were rolling to pick up the residential blue bins. Both the new “one armed bandit”

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garbage trucks picked up the household cans. Workers displaced by the new trucks had been reassigned to grass cutting, demolition, or policing litter in the city. The city even made a rare sweep of residential areas with its sweeper truck.

Spring Dumpster cleanup frustration was reported. It seemed apparent that during previous campaigns contractors filled the bins with remodeling debris rather than arranging for bins on the job site according to Mayor Marco Mc-Clendon.

“It’s a contractor’s dumping ground,” said McClendon, “that’s the only thing it is. They leave stuff around it as well as overflowing it.”

Bonner said four of the five grapple trucks were service ready. But city council members said they received steady complaints about yard debris removal running behind.

The city continued to ignore its own ordinances about tire disposal issuing no warnings or citations but picking up and disposing of a reported 820 old tires.

“I really don’t know where all these tires continue to come from, but we are picking them up to keep the city looking clean,” said Bonner. “There is no right or wrong answer. It’s a catch 22.”

The East Arkansas Planning and Development recycling trailers made two turns last month. The blue trailer bins now located at the old city district court building made two turns and topped off with 6.3 tons of recyclables during April.

Code Enforcement Officer George Philps continued to cite derelict vehicles throughout the city. He said 15 total vehicles cited in the last two months awaited towing arranged by the police department.

“I did 58 writeups on vehicles during April,” said Philips. “Of those, 47 were cleaned up.”

The full city council took the public works commission recommendation during its first May meeting and approved the renewal of the Rubicon information system. Expanded camera capabilities led to a five percent increase in the contract renewal price. The fleet optimization program came it at $90,000 over a three-year period including the city spending 17,500 to renew in May.

“It really does help us when a customer calls to complain we missed them,” said Bonner. “The drivers love it because we can confirm if bin was out waiting for us or not.”

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