The Merriam City Council showed little enthusiasm for converting to a single-hauler trash pickup system this weeK, a discussion that came in the wake of complaints about the performance of at least one company operating in the city.
Unlike Prairie Village, Mission, Roeland Park, Fairway, Westwood and Mission Hills, Merriam does not have a city-wide contract for waste disposal. Leawood, Lenexa, Shawnee and Overland Park also do not have a contract that provides for one trash hauler to cover the city. Merriam residents with contract individually for service or their homes association handles the contract.
Last year, a resident asked the city to consider the single-hauler, but no plans were made to discuss the possibility. The issue arose again this summer as complaints rolled in about the level of service being provided by at least one hauler.
Merriam Assistant City Administrator Chris Engel walked the council through the decisions that would face the city to move to a single-hauler system. It is anticipated a single-hauler system would bring a lower cost for residents and reduce truck traffic.
Event though the city does not control trash pickup, city hall was experiencing more calls about performance.
“I’ve got a feeling we are going to be opening a huge can of worms if we go down this path,” said Mayor Ken Sissom. “I think it’s a no win situation,” council member Nancy Hupp said.
Sissom said he doubted the city could improve the performance of the haulers, but would be handling the complaints. Hupp said she had no desire to pursue the single hauler possibility and council member Scott Diebold said it should be between the person and the hauler.
In 2003, the city council adopted a council policy that would have initiated a single-hauler collection. Already in 2003, most of the NEJC cities had implemented single-hauler trash service. In June of that year, the city sent a letter to residents with the details of the new program and the charges.
A public hearing that month generated lots of public comment. By July 2003 the city sent a followup postcard saying it would not pursue a citywide program. The Merriam policy was officially repealed some years later, council members said during a discussion last year.