“It has been an ongoing problem and I understand their position,” explained Prairie Village Assistant City Administrator Wes Jordan. “But at the end of the day, our residents expect their trash to be picked up, their recycling, their yard waste.”
Jordan worked as a police officer for 27 years and has been the assistant city manager for over a year. He said he has lots of experience addressing problems head-on, and that is exactly what he is doing in this case.
That’s why for the first time in 14 years, the city is opening up bids for a new waste management company. Pick-up delays are not the only reason, but Jordan said they were a factor.
“I hope we get a qualifying bid and that qualification is not just on the amount they are going to charge for the monthly fee. It's also about customer service. This contract is not just a low-bid contract. There will be several factors weighed and brought before the City Council. We hope to have that to them by Aug. 1,” he said.
That means fining the future company if it fails to pick up anything from its telephones to customers' collections at the curb. Right now that fine for failing to pick up trash within 24 hours of a complaint is $30 per occurrence.
“A $30 fine is not an attention grabber,” said Jordan. “If the council ratifies the new contract, whoever the bidder is, they can face a $100 fine, the next missed pickup with be $250, the next would be $500. We are not fine-happy. Do not get me wrong. But at some point, we need some teeth in this to get the bidder's attention.”
Deffenbaugh declined to comment because is it vying for Prairie Village's new bid. The company could regain the contract if it agrees to the city's new stipulations.
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