City OKs new contract with litter picker upper, leaves leaf pickup out of it

The Auburn City Council on Monday evening authorized Mayor Nancy Backus to execute with Recology Cleanscapes a new contract that called for an increase in what the company had charged the City over the last year to provide litter removal and litter can services on 85 miles of city streets.

The agreement with Recology is for $184,161 in 2018, which is a 5 percent increase over 2017 costs.

But not before several council members weighed in with concerns.

Seems that during a recent coffee hour at the Auburn Senior Activities Center, a number of senior citizens bent the ears of council members Yolanda Trout-Manuel and Bill Peloza.

About leaves that had nearly tripped them up as they walked on sidewalks in the downtown area, and with questions about why the City’s litter-picking-up folk weren’t scooping up leaves along with all that trash, and on a regular basis.

Deputy Mayor Largo Wales pressed for the matter to be deferred to a study session.

“We’ve had some concerns over the last year about the cleanliness of our streets, litter and other things,” Wales said. “We’ve even gone on to discuss the concept of a more efficient way to do grocery cart removal. I think it would be nice if we could review this with staff and make sure at this annual time in covering what some of us believe are enhanced needs that we have as it relates to the presentation of our town.”

Yes, Recology Cleanscapes Inc., is a private corporation that provides collection, disposal and recycling services to municipalities. and provides Auburn with a year-long litter cleanup and recycling program. But leaf pickup was never part of the contract that the City first entered into late last year with Recology Cleanscapes, said City Financial Director Shelley Coleman.

“We had them last year for the first year. They picked up where Vadis services left off,” Coleman said. “It’s the same type of services … they pick up trash, they circulate throughout the city, they do Lea Hill, they do West Hill, they do the Lakeland area, they do north Auburn, and they concentrate on the downtown core on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. That is, from First North to First South and between Auburn Way and to the train tracks to the west.

“We’ve had what we thought was a good response about customer service,” Coleman said, “This is the first we have heard that maybe not so.”

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