Memphis Mayor lays out “fix-it” list for city’s solid waste

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced Friday he has a “fix-it” plan for the city’s solid waste program.

The changes will impact thousands.

This comes on the heels of a major announcement the city is terminating its contract with the embattled trash pickup company Inland Waste, which services the Cordova and the Hickory Hill neighborhoods.

“We’re here to talk about today how we’re fixing a problem that has existed for years and years — our solid waste service,” said Mayor Strickland at a news conference Friday.

Community leader Patricia Rogers, who attended the announcement, is often outspoken about trash and debris pickup in the city, particularly Fox Meadows. She is excited about the proposed changes.

“It was moving very very slowly, it was very frustrating but he made a giant step today and I’m here in support of Mayor Strickland,” said Rogers.

Mayor Jim Strickland announcing ending Inland’s trash pick up contract, invoking a clause to end the contract in 30 days. The city vetted other vendors and has chosen Waste Pro to take over for now.

“We’re comfortable with their service they tend to provide in order to finish out the term of the agreement,” explained Robert Knecht, Public Works Director.

Another change on the fix-it list is ramping up solid waste staffing and rebuilding the equipment fleet. Ads and orders for potential employees and equipment have been placed.

Strickland said that years ago, to save money, 76 solid waste positions were not filled and equipment wasn’t replaced.

“Once all this comes together, likely by October we’ll have the necessary people and equipment to pick up garbage outside the cart every other week and without calling 311.”

The city also plans to reinstate a divison of solid waste, which they say will allow leadership to focus on improving services as well.

Mayor Strickland is proposing this plan with no rate increase for now.

The Memphis City Council must still sign off on the plan.

Mayor Strickland will propose to city council a one-time transfer of $6 million to 15 million from a general reserve fund to pay for the plan. The city says there’s currently around $90 million in the reserve fund.

We also reached out to Inland for a comment regarding their contact termination and have not heard back.

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