City Leaders Debate Trash Options

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(Memphis) Once again, Memphis city leaders are considering plans to change and save money on trash collection in Memphis.

This year, city administration along with AFSCME has come up with a plan that would save a total of $5.4 million.

That savings would then be split with the union, meaning the city will save $2.7 million.

The plan would mean a change in services, starting with yard waste.

“As opposed to doing it every week which is really a high level of service compared to our peer cities, we would go to a less frequent pick up of that. There would be an offset. That would be more sites where you could dump recyclables and a yard waste for free,” said Memphis City Chief Administrative Officer George Little.

Also, garbage collection for crews would increase from 476-600 homes daily.

But, city councilman Kemp Conrad isn’t a fan of the deal.

“The citizens save money every year, the employees have a better working situation; better conditions and they make more money. I don’t understand why we wouldn’t do that,” said Conrad who said the city should privatize trash collection and save anywhere from $15-17 million each year.

“I don’t care who does the work, I don’t care if the city does it. I don’t care if a contractor does it. A contractor does 20% of the city now and that’s how we know they are twice as efficient,” said Conrad.

However, Little said outsourcing is not a simple solution.

“It would take some gear up time for a private hauler. It would be three months, probably more like 6 months, from the day we decided to do a deal before we can get a hauler in here,” said Little. “There’s been within the community, an acknowledgement of the unique place that sanitation workers hold. So, as a practical matter we think there would be a lot of resistance to completely do away with the city sanitation services.”

Little said they also have to consider that city workers cannot strike, as workers at private company Republic have done several times in the recent past.

There is plenty of trash talking to be done.

City council members will take up the issue June 4th.