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(June 15, 2018)

Mayor Jean Stothert notified Waste Management Friday that an excessive number of complaints about curbside collection in the month of May will result in financial penalties.

The city’s contract with Waste Management allows for “liquidated damages”, or fines, when the number of complaints exceed either 1,000 missed garbage and recyclable pickups or 700 reports of missed yard waste collections. In May, the city received 1,227 complaints about missed garbage and recyclables and 648 yard waste complaints. The city will assess a fine of $27,633.90.

In addition, the city will reduce its payment to Waste Management for failure to provide separate yard waste collection across the city. Currently, only 6 of 20 Waste Management collection routes are staffed.  The city could reduce the monthly tipping fees at the landfill, reduce the amount paid per household for separate yard waste collection, or a combination of both.

“Waste Management needs to own this problem,” said Mayor Stothert. “We’ve been patient for four years. There is a shortage of CDL drivers, I understand that, but Waste Management needs to abide by the contract.”

Waste Management is required to provide separate yard waste collection from April-November.  In early April, Waste Management started separate collections in neighborhoods east of 72nd street.  Last month, separate collections were expanded to neighborhoods east of I-680.  Waste Management indicated it would hire and train additional drivers to provide separate collections citywide by early June. Recently, Waste Management informed the city it will not be able to meet the contractual obligations.

In addition to financial penalties, the city will require separate yard waste collection in parts of the city to be able to continue the production of OmaGro. Those areas have not been determined yet.

Mayor Stothert said her goal is to collect garbage, recyclables and yard waste from every home on the scheduled collection day. 

The current contract with Waste Management expires in 2020.  The city will issue the request for bids  for a new contract soon.

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