Last summer there were many complaints about yard waste not being picked up so Mayor Jean Stothert and the Public Works Department want the city council to support a plan to do a study, get public input, and analysis on how they can pick up trash and waste quicker and cost effectively.
The current contract with Deffenbaugh pays them about $20 million annually and was extended in 2015. Public Works Director Bob Stubbe says they admitted to not having enough drivers and trucks to handle the yard waste last summer. They need about 20 extra trucks.
Councilmembers said a decision to support the study was premature because they don't know what direction it would go, if it would let Deffenbaugh off the hook for the problems, and if it would lock the city into another contract without input.
“If we approve this today you’re just shooting from the hip, to me that’s not what the taxpayers expect us to do,” said Councilman Chris Jerram.
Ideas for modernization include using trucks that could haul yard waste and recycling, CNG trucks with arms to pick up trash cans, and finding a more cost effective way and energy efficient way to recycle yard waste.
“We want to find out what people want, what it will cost, what it will cost to comingle the yard waste as opposed to collecting it separately. We need all of those facts out there and to get more input from the public,” Mayor Jean Stothert explained. “I don’t think we can wait 4 more years before we modernize our trash collection system here in Omaha.”
The city council will revisit the issue at their June 7th meeting.
Deffenbaugh’s contract expires in 2020.