Committee discusses Lima trash contract

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — Councilor Todd Gordon said the complaint he hears most often from Lima residents concerns the city’s garbage services. Lima City Council’s Utilities Committee brought in Aaron Wright, owner of Wright Refuse, Tuesday to discuss what could be done.

Gordon led the meeting and relayed tales of broken garbage cans, missed pickups and grumpy drivers, complaints echoed by other council members in attendance.

But while grievances were aired, no motions were officially made by the end of the meeting. Instead, councilors decided to rely on the actions of Wright Refuse to try to reduce the number of complaints and of Utilities Director Mike Caprella to figure out how Lima residents can be educated to ensure proper placement of trash cans on curbs.

As council learned, many of the garbage problems faced by residents can be fixed as long as trash cans are placed at least three feet apart with the right side facing the curb, with trash properly secured in garbage bags. If placement is correct, garbage trucks can better secure trash cans without garbage falling onto the road or into people’s yards.

Caprella pulled statistics from the last six weeks to highlight the number of complaints heard. While the city services 11,000 garbage accounts, on average, Caprella said, they hear just over 30 complaints a week due to misses. Generally, miss complaints are forwarded to Wright Refuse, who then pick up the “miss” later in the day.

“They’re not high, high numbers. But people will call. Even if those numbers and percents are very small, they’re going to tell you about it,” Caprella said.

Wright said his company has been experiencing a few more problems than normal in the last three months because of driver error and the need for training. Some misses have been due to garbage trucks avoiding construction or longstanding employees taking vacation time, which leaves newer employees with less experience picking up the slack.

Another difficulty Wright mentioned is dealing with some bulk pickups. Due to more people renting and moving, Wright said he’s seen more larger pickups, and some of the furniture has been troublesome to get rid of quickly. Sometimes, furniture may be falling apart and scraps may be left in the road. Or in some mattress cases, garbage pickup will spray it to kill bedbugs before throwing it into the back of the garbage truck.

The city’s contract with Wright Refuse expires within the next few months. At that time, council will revisit the issue.

“The garbage we put in the cans, we expect it to go into the back of the truck, not across the neighborhood,” Councilor Sam McLean said. “You continue down this road, I hate to say it, but the people in Lima aren’t happy.”

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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