In an effort to save money and improve service, the Kansas City Council voted to phase out contracted trash collection and have Solid Waste Division crews pick up trash citywide when the contract expires in 2020. Contractors pick up trash north of the river and south of 63rd Street, but city officials said with service complaints on the rise, it was time for a change.
“Seventy-eight percent of complaints (in the last year) related to trash and recycling collection came from the contract crews,” said Michael Shaw, solid waste division manager. Shaw told council members ‘in-house’ trash collection would save the city nearly $20 million over a 10-year period.
“The model (using contractors) that we’ve used for probably 40 years is coming to an end,” City Manager Troy Schulte said.
Not only will ‘in house’ trash pickup save the city money and improve service levels, Shaw said the plan allows Solid Waste to expand bulky item and leaf/brush pickups and enhance neighborhood cleanup programs. Under the plan, the Solid Waste Division will hire nearly 80 new workers and add nearly two dozen new trash trucks. Citywide ‘in house’ trash collection could begin as early as May 2020.
However, until then, Schulte said there could still be collection issues north and south. “The contractor won’t have a vested interest in picking it (trash) up, so it may get worse before it gets better.”
Recycling collection is under contract until 2024 and is unaffected by the trash collection plan.