Frustrated Kansas Citians demand improved trash pickup

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- More than a dozen frustrated Kansas Citians told a joint city council committee Wednesday to do something to improve the city's trash collection.

They support a proposal for the city to take over all trash pickup.

Council members have been debating how best to improve the quality of the city's trash service.

Northland council members are pushing for a city takeover of the trash collection in the Northland and some South Kansas City neighborhoods currently served by private contractors that generate the vast majority of complaints.

Others on the council contend that the contractors don't receive enough money to do the job right and if the city boosted their pay the service would improve.

Homeowners who testified say the contractors have already shown they can't do the job properly, and they want taxpayers to stop paying for the same task twice.

"There’s been times that it’s been out since Sunday. Our recycling day is Thursday," Theresa Mihalka said, who lives in the Tremont subdivision north of the river.  "I’m tired of chasing my neighbors and my trash around the neighborhood. I’m just running after trash and picking it up. I even have trash in my backyard in the trees. I’m not climbing trees to get rid of trash anymore."

Based on bids from contractors, the city's solid waste division believes it can do the job better and for less cost by buying 24 trash trucks and hiring more than 70 workers.

Some on the council say even if it costs the city more, it's worth it to do the job right.

So far this year, there have been 12,000 complaints citywide about missed trash or recycling pickup. About 5,400 of those complaints have come from the First District, north of the river.

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