KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A welcome change is coming to Kansas City trash collection. For almost a year, neighbors have complained about pick-ups being missed week after week.
The city is giving two contractors the boot and will take over all trash collection citywide.
Leaving trash uncollected on the curb is no fun for neighbors.
"When they don't pick it up on time, you've got all the critters that no longer have a home are down playing in the trash, and it's all up and down the street," homeowner Sheila Butler said.
Northland neighborhoods have been especially hard hit by Kansas City's trash troubles. Last summer, more than 10,000 trash complaints were submitted to the 311 line. More than three-fourths of those came from up north.
"They don't have a problem raising our water bill, which includes our trash pick up. They don't have a problem doing that, but then we can't get trash picked up," homeowner Ed Warczakoski said.
After all those complaints last year, the contractor added extra trucks to help get trash collected. But problems have persisted.
"We've had to send our own supplementary crews both north & south to pick up trash and obviously that's a problem, and there have been times when routes have not been picked up which we've fined the contractors for as well," KCMO Housing & Neighborhood Services spokesperson John Baccala said.
Now the city's saying enough is enough. After studying the issue, the city's decided it's best to take over trash collection citywide, starting when the current contracts expire in May 2020.
It's a move estimated to save taxpayers nearly $20 million over 10 years.
"The city savings is great. The better service is even better, because that's what people are really clamoring about and they deserve it, and we're going to give it to them," Baccala said.
The city will have to buy about two dozen new trash trucks and hire roughly 80 workers to take over all trash collection. But if it does provide better service, residents say the change can't come soon enough.
Recycling will continue to be provided by contractors in some parts of the city. Those contracts could also be eliminated when they expire in 2024.