OCEAN CITY – This week’s City Council decision to “right size” the town’s trash pick up came with a stark promise to keep Ocean City from becoming “filthy.”
Ocean City Public Works Director Hal Adkins proposed a cutback or “rightsizing” of trash pickup in Ocean City for both residential and commercial properties for the winter months running from December 2008 to March of 2009.
“We would never allow this town to get filthy,” said Adkins. “We have strived for many years to achieve a level of unparalleled cleanliness, and I, for one, would never recommend a service reduction that would ruin that achievement.”
The proposed change would be from two days per week in residential areas to one and from five days per week for commercial properties to three, saving the town a projected $15,000 in fuel expenses.
Adkins did add, however, that if certain properties or businesses had a vast need for more frequent pickup than the allotted three days for commercial, for instance, he would be willing to make exceptions as part of his “commitment” in keeping Ocean City clean.
“We won’t be hanging anyone out to dry, especially those businesses that usually get Saturday pick-ups. We will monitor the volumes of trash created and increase pickup at certain places if needed,” Adkins said.
Manpower also becomes an issue here, as Adkins pointed out. The drivers of these trucks can now be used in other areas of labor intensive and manpower oriented sections of public works, according to Adkins, including construction and maintenance, which with the town-implemented hiring freeze could become quite efficient.
Tipping fees, a little known but pricey aspect of trash collection based on tonnage, are $100,000 under budget so far this fiscal year, which would indicate that the amount of trash being picked up is down, thus justifying this cutback or “rightsizing.”
“You could be saving another $100,000 in tipping fees with these cutbacks, and in this day and age, that is substantial,” said Adkins.
It should be noted that oftentimes, when trash pickup is reduced, recycling sees a direct increase, which could equate to a 6- to 7-percent increase. Currently, the town pays $75 per ton for commercial trash, and $65 a ton for residential. There is an estimated 2,300 to 3,000 tons per month in the off-season months in Ocean City, and around 5-6000 tons of trash generated each month in the summer months.
“This is a great idea, and I think that we should try it out, as long as we keep the town clean,” said councilman Jim Hall.
The council unanimously passed the plan, and Adkins said that since the change is projected to go into effect in December, which is just a few days away, “we will scramble to get the word out there about when the changes will be.”
New Trash Pickup Schedules:
75th Street to Delaware line (oceanside)
75th Street to 135th Street (bayside)
Inlet to 74th Street (oceanside and bayside)
136th-146th streets (bayside)
Monday, Wednesday and Friday