If you are an Amarillo water customer, last week your bill should have contained the above insert. In big, bold letters, the insert read: “How to Safely Dispose of Debris, Waste, Brush & Limbs.” This insert seems to be the City’s first step toward “fixing” its bulky waste problem. What this insert says is that you should place your bulky items and brush on your curb and then call 378-6813 for free pickup. The inserts says, “Commercial and construction waste must be taken to the landfill.” The second notice to Amarillo residents is that bulky items should be taken to the landfill—free of charge for most residential waste. Just in case the “most” is not exactly the truth you should call the landfill at 359-2056 just to be sure. The rest of the insert tells residents how to dispose of hazardous waste such as paint, solvents, cleaning products, automobile fluids, pesticides and other type waste. For guidelines on disposal of these type products call 342-1556. At the bottom of the insert in bold red is this: “Stop Illegal Dumping: It is Illegal to Dump Waste on the Ground Around the Dumpster or in the Alley.”
Ok, so my first question is this: Will the City pick up all the junk in the picture above—if it stays in the alley and not hauled to a curb? This pile of junk is on both sides of the dumpster and has been there since July. No one is going to haul this junk to the curb. And might I add– this junk is at the rear of an Amarillo landlord who has four rental units nearby. This stuff appears to be what was left behind by a tenant and the landlord just hauled it out to the dumpster. Again, my question is what does the City of Amarillo plan to do about landlords who are doing some of the illegal dumping? With the new policy of “haul it off yourself” what will the City do about all the stuff piled up in alleys all over town? Will the City clean it up, “one more time” and then stop refusing calls for any more removal of bulky trash in alleys? What if residents continue ignoring the City and keep on dumping junk in the alleys as they have been doing for a hundred years?
One of the mission/goals contained the current city budget is something called “Community Counts” that seeks to address disadvantaged areas of the city, that includes a citywide Community Improvement Program. This program includes “community appearance” as a focus area. One has to wonder if the City of Amarillo is turning its back on community appearance goals when it comes to the problem of so much bulky trash in alleys all over town. Is the City more concerned about the appearance of downtown and is giving other parts of the city the shaft in favor of pouring money into downtown redevelopment and Liberty Square? I am aware that efforts have been made to address this problem, including citizen input; however, the problem seems intractable and almost unsolvable. Does the City really expect private citizens to haul trash to the landfill—12 miles away? Telling citizens to “haul it away yourself” is almost laughable, especially given the fact that the City has almost aided and abetted the current situation by having a long standing history of hauling off bulky trash. I think the City will find it not so easy to wean its citizens of its “Big Brother” will haul it off mentality. Again, my question is what will the City do about “community appearance” issues that are already daunting, when it begins to ignore mounds of bulky trash that continue to be hauled into alleys all over town? What does the city plan to do about all the used tires dumped all over town?
I wonder if the City of Amarillo would consider foregoing the $15.40 per month it currently charges households for solid waste fees if citizens wanted to band together to hire private contractors to do the job?. This is precisely what has happened with Amarillo commercial customers—they are using competitive bids to lower their trash removal costs. Is it time for the city to set the resident captives free so we can get private trash collection service that will indeed haul off bulky items. The City of Amarillo cannot continue to have it both ways. The city cannot collect money to haul off trash, then keep the money and not do the job.
I will start to get bids to see what it will cost to remove the nasty pile of junk down my alley. I have looked at it long enough. It is nasty, it is breeding mice, and it is inviting more nasty junk. It has to be removed and I supposed I will have to pay to have it done. And, might I add, more and more Amarillo citizens who care about the appearance of their neighborhoods should start to band together to have the mess removed from their alleys. The City of Amarillo is not going to help us anymore. Get use to it! This is a golden business opportunity for someone. Seize it!!
Copyright 2017 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.