The bulk waste and brush pick up service in Sherman is turning 10 this year and with the anniversary has come an increase in enforcement efforts.
As a part of the program, residents are able to leave out bulk waste and brush once a month for free pick up by city crews. The schedule is based on a quadrant map of the city, with each area assigned a week to leave out waste for pick up.
“As I drive the streets on a daily basis, it is a constant effort to keep these areas picked up,” Sherman Public Works Director Kevin Winkler said.
Public Works started its recent education campaign in late 2018 when crews would leave tags on the doors of residences where bulk trash was set out outside of the scheduled pick up times. During this initial phase, no fines were given out.
Starting in January, fines for non-compliance were issued and residents were charges for the removal of the waste outside of the timetable. Since January, Winkler said more than 1,000 notifications have been sent out to residences.
Of those who were tagged, about 70 percent of violators addressed the issue and removed the brush or bulk within one day of notification and were not fined.
“A 70 percent success rate to me is a home run,” City Manager Robby Hefton said.
Based on the fines that were issued in the first six months, Winkler projected the city could see about $75,000 in revenue through the program. This could be used by the department to finance another staff member to assist in patrols and spotting violations, he said.
Moving forward, Winkler said he plans to release a packet of information on the program that will clear up some common questions residents have. One of the biggest points of confusion is related to the schedule, and Winkler said he plans to clarify that this is based on Mondays.
Council member Pam Howeth said the schedule has been a concern for her. As an example, she said her neighborhood is scheduled for pick up on the first of the month. However, for August, this equated to the week of August 5, due to the calendar.
Council member Willie Steele was more critical of the program and pointed to the large number of violations as a sign of its failure. Instead, Steele advocated for a system with pick up twice a year and funding instead used to clean up illegal dumping.
“I do not like this program,” he said. “I never have understood the real philosophy behind the service. We have been educating our citizens for over 10 years and we still have over a thousand violations.”
Do you think the bulk waste pick up program is confusing? Let local government reporter Michael Hutchins know at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.