PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT)
Big changes are coming to trash pick-up services in one Region 8 town and it's something that won't cost jobs or more money for citizens.
After a decision by the Paragould city council earlier this week, there will now be automated trash services in town. The move is something that will benefit Paragould residents and city employees.
In Paragould, between the times the trash is put out and when it gets picked up, a lot can happen.
"Animals getting into it at night, raccoons, people getting in and actually digging through your trash," Nicholas Pieri told Region 8 News.
For years, Paragould residents like Pieri have placed their trash bags on the curb twice a week, every week.
In a few months, that will all change when the city switches to automated trash collection.
"And we've been wanting to do this for quite awhile," Paragould Public Works Director Lenny Edgar said. "It's just we had other things we wanted to accomplish in the city first. So it's just time."
Edgar said there are quite a few flaws with their current method of trash pick-up, not just for residents but for sanitation workers too.
Edgar explained that a day of picking up trash bags by hand can lead to a number of workers compensation claims.
"We've had 19 accidents on sanitation just this year from ankle sprains or twisted ankles to torn rotator cuffs," Edgar said.
What's in the trash bags also causes concern for city employees.
"We've had a lot of places where we get stuck by needles, diabetics or other needles, glass in bags," Edgar said.
Edgar said they are all things that wind up costing the city money. He said thankfully, the new method will change that.
When citizens get their own trash can, sanitation workers won't have to handle trash bags anymore.
"So far, everybody's excited about it," Edgar said.
"It's a work in progress but it is a step up from just throwing it out on the curb," Pieri said.
The trash cans, along with instructions on what you can put in them and the best place to put them will be distributed in the coming months.
Edgar said they hope to have everything ready and going by February 1, 2016.
In the meantime, Paragould Public Works will begin work on getting three new side-arm trucks. They will also convert three of their current trucks for rear trash pick-up.
Edgar also said that though they won’t have sanitation workers on the backs of trucks anymore, they won’t be cutting any jobs either. However, if someone quits or retires, they might not fill that position.