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Trash transition


Bossier City sees ups and downs since changing trash collection contractors

In the two months-plus since Bossier City’s solid waste collection service changed, Public Works Director Gary Neathery described the time as a “transition period.”

“We had some difficulties learning new routes, plus a lot of holiday confusion with the first week of collection being right after Thanksgiving, then the Christmas and New Years holidays with no pickup and those being heavy trash weeks,” said Neathery.

It’s been more than two months since the city changed from their long-time partners of the City of Shreveport to private contractor Republic Services.

“The last three weeks have been running real smooth. It takes each driver a while to learn his route but it seems like that has part has smoothed out. We’re seeing every little piece of it falling into place,” said Neathery.

Residents abegan paying an $8 increase Dec. 1 for the solid waste pickup. Part of the new contract with Republic Services, officials said the increase would have been added even if the city stayed with Shreveport due to cost-of-living increases and the growing population of Bossier City.

Neathery said his office has received a mix of complaints and compliments since the changes.

“I’ve heard everything on the spectrum, the reaction depends on the perspective. Some have been very happy, others have been very upset. But we always go out and try to figure out what the problem is,” he said.

Several residents expressed their dismay over the experience on the Bossier Press-Tribune Facebook page. Most had complaints about the delay in pickup.

Craig Edwards said, “(It) took them about a month to get (the side yard collection) right. I had to call them every week to come back because they missed it. After a face to face meeting with a very helpful supervisor, bright green arrows painted on my driveway, and now a green reflector on my curb, they finally got it right.”

While Lisa Krause Richardson said things have gotten better.

“It started off very late for our pickup. Sometimes a day late. It seems to have improved now.”

Liz Lewis, a Greenacres Place resident, had a positive experience with her collection.

“I had an old ping pong table that was falling apart and needed to be thrown away on my back patio. I caught the trash truck and the (driver) was so nice, he said, ‘No problem, I will come to your house and pick it up.’ They came to my house and they walked with me to my back patio and went out of their way to help me carry it out and take care of it.”

Neathery said the delays in pickup can be traced to lost time when crews have to reposition trash cans so the automated arm can pick up the can.

“The handle should be pointing toward the house, open side pointing toward the street. In the past, Shreveport would pull dumpsters from the street, so we’re having to turn everyone around.”

He said although a letter was sent out to residents, most did not make the necessary change of positioning the can. Now the department will spend the week placing stickers with green arrows on them pointing towards the correct direction the can needs to face.

He also noted the city made a lot of efforts to improve side yard collections by painting green arrows and placing green reflectors on residents’ curbs

“We came up with a problem list for customers who had been missed five or six times, which was only about 15 or 16 people. When we made that list, those locations were resolved within a week,” Neathery said.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.