Crews began picking up trash in Port Aransas on a new schedule as of yesterday, Wednesday, Jan. 2. The new schedule is under a new contract the city has with Allied Waste, the contractor for trash pickup.
The new twice-weekly schedule calls for trash to be picked up at curbside in the area bounded by Avenue G, State Hwy. 361 and the beach on Mondays and Thursdays; the part of town between Avenue G and the ship channel on Tuesdays and Fridays; and west of State Hwy. 361 to Avenue G, and west of Avenue G and Cut-off Road on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Crews have been busy for the past week delivering the new 95-gallon or 65-gallon trash containers, called "toters", to residents. A note attached to the top of the container tells residents which days their trash will be picked up.
The toters, which are supplied by Allied Waste as part of the contract, allow trucks with mechanized arms to unload the trash bins instead of requiring crews riding on the backs of the trucks to manually pick up trash cans and dump them in the trucks. Allied Waste manager Bob Bradley said it greatly reduces the company's liability and means more efficient trash pickup.
Besides, Bradley told the city council recently, many residents are using containers larger than the 32-gallon ones that are the limit under the city's current contract.
As part of the adjustment, the council on Thursday, Dec. 20, added to the city's sanitation ordinance a provision requiring users to have their trash bins at curbside by 7 a.m. on the scheduled day of pickup, and to have them back out of sight by noon the day after trash is picked up.
That ordinance will come up for third and final reading at the council's next meeting, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 17.
Also part of the new contract is a formal agreement to have a recycling program. The city formerly had an informal recycling program; the new one allows recycled materials (except glass) to be picked up from single family dwellings once a week.
Special recycling containers are available through city hall, but Executive Assistant Pat Garrett said the city doesn't stock the containers. Instead, anyone who wants to participate in recycling should call city hall at (361) 749-4111 and get their names on a list. When Allied Waste provides the recycling containers, someone at city hall will call and tell you when to pick up your recycling bin.
No schedule has been announced yet for recycling, nor for the other new part of the contract - brush pickup.
Brush, formerly handled by city crews, has been transferred to Allied Waste as part of the makeover of the city's operations department. By not using city workers to pick up brush, City Manager Michael Kovaks hopes to streamline the department.
Under the new agreement, utility bills for single family residences are expected to go up about $5.50 a month. Price breaks for senior citizens are still in effect under the new contract.