Trash talk: Council hears concerns about garbage removal

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 6/16/22

The president and owner of the city’s waste services provider apologized for recent garbage pickup headaches Monday, and said his company has made changes and hired new personnel to ensure more consistent service for city residents.

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Trash talk: Council hears concerns about garbage removal

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The president and owner of the city’s waste services provider apologized for recent garbage pickup headaches Monday, and said his company has made changes and hired new personnel to ensure more consistent service for city residents.

Kevin Atkinson, of Texas Pride Disposal, said his company, like others nationwide, is having staffing shortages following the pandemic and the February 2021 winter storm. He gave a report to the Katy City Council at its Monday meeting at City Hall.

“We tried to insulate customers like you,” Atkinson said. “It’s a challenge I’ve never faced in my career.”

Atkinson said the company hired a consultant to help it navigate its personnel issues. The company also rerouted its pickup routes.

At one point, Atkinson said, the company had 96 routes and 92 drivers. Today, he said, it has 108 drivers, though some of them are still completing their training. He said the company has also restructured its pay setup.

“People in our industry realize they can make good money,” Atkinson said.

Roger Lowry, a retired maintenance worker, was a complainant.

“The last three weeks I’ve had bad service with them,” Lowry said in an interview before the council meeting. “They don’t come on Tuesdays. I’d call the number on the box, but nobody calls you back. You have to call the city.”

The last couple of weeks, Lowry said, trash has been dumped on his block. He said the trash was not just his, but that of “a bunch of people on my street.” He said he received a letter from his homeowner’s association that complained about the debris.

Atkinson said the garbage trucks have cameras and can see where things went wrong. If debris is in the street, Atkinson said it can be determined whether the debris was there when the crew arrived or whether the crew somehow left it behind. He and Lowry sat together during the meeting and spoke about Lowry’s situation.

City Administrator Byron Hebert said the city continues to grow west and asked Atkinson whether he thought any changes would have to be made to accommodate the growth. Atkinson said the company has added another crew to its Wednesday and Saturday schedule and was flexible.

“I think our routing and schedule that we’ve got is still favorable,” Atkinson said.

The city entered into its contract with Texas Pride Disposal in September 2020. Texas Pride Disposal replaced Republic Services as the city’s waste services provider. Republic Services had held that contract for about 20 years

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