City officials looking for neighborhoods to test roll carts

Oct 17, 2012

Columbia’s pending move to a roll-cart, trash-collection program is moving forward with a few changes to the original plan.  Currently the city is identifying ideal neighborhoods in which to test the roll cart program.  Public Works’ Solid Waste Utility Manager Richard Wieman says the new system will be cheaper and pick up more trash on a daily basis.

“(The) industry is just moving away from manual collection, due to one, the safety issues I mentioned, the cost issue, and we’re just kind of going, taking a look at that program and see if it will fit for Columbia,” he says.

But the group "Citizens Opposed to Roll Carts" has been vocal with its arguments against the roll cart program.  Member Richard Shanker says the program’s projected savings are actually not substantial enough to merit the roll carts.

“Projected savings are... $2 per family, and that’s their savings.," Shanker says. "And for that amount of savings, the vast majority of the vocal citizens have said we don’t care to have this.”

A single roll cart collection vehicle will be rented for the program at nearly $8,000 per month. 

Wieman says the city is looking at using whole neighborhoods -- not just lone individual homes -- for the pilot program, which has an estimated launch date sometime after January 1.  The program will run for three months.  After which, the council will decide either to green light the roll cart system or head back to the drawing board.

This story originally aired as part of Business Beat, a weekly program about business and economics in mid-Missouri.