The city of Denison plans to purchase nearly 9,000 new trash carts ahead of its transition to automated trash pick-up on April 1.

Denison officials first discussed the plans to convert from manual trash pick-up to a system using a claw truck for residential waste last year during Denison’s annual budget retreat and included it in the 2018-2019 budget. Automated systems are already in use in the city of Sherman and other cities across the region.

“We are currently looking at a spring implementation,” City Manager Jud Rex said.

The new system will utilize three new trucks equipped with an automated arm that will lift and empty trash carts into the back for collection. The trash collection on each truck will be primarily handled by one worker, allowing the city to reallocate resources and employees to other services, including additional bulk and brush pick-up.

In the lead up to the transition, the city worked with consultants who determined that the city could offer increased services for the cost that Denison residents pay for waste services.

“I know we promoted the free bulk waste and free brush collection, but that is not free,” consultant Nancy Nevil said in 2018. “They are paying more than enough for these services.”

The city council approved a request to join a municipal purchasing co-op in order to acquire the new carts. In total, Rex said the carts are expected to cost the city about $500,000 and take about 20 semi trucks to deliver in the next few months.

These 9,000 carts will be enough to outfit the city while also leaving room for spares and for residents who wish to purchase additional carts.

Rex said the new system will be a change for many residents as it previously used traditional trash pick-up. As an example, he said the system is not designed to pick up individual trash bags that are left outside of the cart. In the lead up, Rex said city staff will hold educational meetings with residents to discuss the new system.

“That is always a concern,” Rex said of the growing pains that will come with the new system. “But in February and March, we plan to educate residents on the process as much as we can.”

In addition to the new carts, the city has also purchased three new trash trucks for the service at a cost of about $1 million. The city considered purchasing used vehicles for this service, but Rex said the new vehicles ultimately proved to be the best option.

These new trucks will be designated specifically for weekly trash pick-up while the city’s existing fleet of vehicles will be utilized for other services and duties, Rex said.