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City sanitation department in transition; public should leave trash cans in alley, by curb

20140815 MISSION Sanitation-trucksMission city leaders believe taking over residential trash service will mean the end of broken garbage cans, skipped pick ups and cans thrown in the middle of the street.

The city is set to take over trash service Sept. 8, but sanitation trucks already are hitting the streets as Mission prepares to take over residential trash pick up from BFI Services.

Other than better service, City Manager Martin Garza said residents shouldn’t expect much to change. The city plans to mirror the routes BFI already has mapped out each week.

“One of the things that we want to improve is if they leave a can behind,” Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas said during a recent workshop. “When you get a call at city hall that there was some brush left at one of the areas, would you wait 30 days? That’s what we need to do because we weren’t doing that. We need to answer that phone call right away instead of saying, ‘Well, they need to wait for their turn.’

“That’s the biggest problem we have.”

Employees started switching out cans this week, and Garza warned residents over the next few weeks that there may be a couple of hours when they don’t have a garbage can as BFI picks up their property and the city of Mission drops off theirs. For the next three weeks, Garza asked all residents to keep their cans by the curb or alleyway to enable the transition. The city will be switching out more than 22,000 cans.

If for some reason residents see their neighbors with City of Mission trash cans but still have the same BFI can, Garza said they should call the city at (956) 583-2564.

The city used its $5 million in bond money to purchase nine vehicles for trash and five for brush, compared to the eight garbage and four brush trucks BFI used to service the area. Three people will be hired to clear alleyways and overhanging trees with weedeaters, so the trucks remain in good shape.

"I think we're going to be doing a great improvement over the service that is being provided, only because we're hiring experienced drivers and we're going to have back-ups," Garza told Mission City Council at a recent workshop.

The current sanitation department is located in a mobile building off Conway. Garza said the plan is to move to a bigger property south of the current site in future years and use the building for offices for animal control.

“The sanitation department building is very small and humble, but we want to make sure that we start off making money and not losing money,” Garza said.

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