Residents protest poly-cart program

File photo Frank Rubio of the city’s public works department goes through poly-carts in November. The city is trying the trash collection system on a trial basis, with some complaints from residents.

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Dozens of residents trashed the city’s trial program for trash poly-carts, but city officials insist their minds aren’t made up.

The city held an informational meeting Tuesday about trash collection, drawing between 70 and 100 residents to the north annex of the Clovis-Carver Public Library.

City Engineer Justin Howalt said having a poly-cart for each home on a trash route, as opposed to trash bins in alleys, could save the city up to $80,000 a year. There are 1,600 carts currently being used on a trial basis.

“We’re out collecting research,” Howalt said. “We’re looking at the fiscal side of it, and now we’re looking at the input side of the community.”

The input was mostly against the poly-carts, as resident J.C. Smith said.

“We have a lot of older people in our area,” said Smith, who lives on Fairfield Avenue. “Because of age … they just can’t push out the poly carts. They can take small bags out to the dumpster, but these poly carts, you have to fill them up and take them out to the curb on the pickup day. They’re fairly lightweight and the wind will blow them down.”

Smith said having the poly-carts in front of homes can also present a traffic hazard.

His biggest concern was that City Manager Joe Thomas requested correspondence on the poly-carts should be submitted in writing, and that Tuesday’s meeting didn’t go beyond information.

“That in itself,” Smith said, “is kind of a deterrent. You have to be really against doing something to go to that extent.”

A comment form is available on the cityofclovis.org website.

Comments can be e-mailed to administration@cityofclovis.org or mailed to the city manager’s office (P.O. Box 760, Clovis, NM 88102-0760) by June 18.

Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield, present at the meeting, said the city’s mind is not made up by any means.

“We’re going to look at all options,” Brumfield said. “We’re looking at cost-effectiveness and efficiency.”

Howalt said the savings are based on maintenance and fuel costs, along with material costs for the carts.

Brumfield said she understands why a change would be unpopular, despite savings.

“Dumpsters are convenient,” she said. “People like them, they’re used to them.”

The issue would require city commission approval, but it is not scheduled for a particular meeting.

Howalt, however, said he expected the issue to be discussed sometime in the summer.