City estimates half of garbage toters have been distributed

BUCKHANNON – The amount of toters transferred to area residents has tallied up quickly, according to the city’s public works director.

Jerry Arnold said recently his department had distributed about 50 percent of the new garbage collection receptacles, but they’re still not moving as fast as they’d like. Requiring each waste department customer to sign for their toter is slowing down the process, he said.

“We anticipated we would be further along at this point,” Arnold said. “However, gathering signatures has taken a bit longer than we thought. Our guys are traveling out into areas and going door-to-door to get customers to sign for their toter so we can deliver them.”

Use and purchase of the toters began in April for a multitude of reasons. Mayor David McCauley told Buckhannon City Council members earlier this year the 96-gallon waste receptacles are on wheels and everything is automated. He said the garbage trucks pull up to the toters and the truck uses levers to pick up and dump the waste into the back of the truck.

Another plus for the Buckhannon City Waste Department is the toters should cut down on the amount of personal injuries city workers suffer, whether those be back injuries from heavy-lifting or cuts, punctures and scrapes from encounters with sharp objects while dumping trash cans and bags.

Arnold said the toters will be more convenient for customers, too, as they can wheel their toter out for collection.

“It will stop a lot of the wind-blown litter and residents will never have to purchase another garbage can again,” Arnold said. “All in all, I think the toter program progress has been excellent. It has been a very good improvement to our system. I have heard many positive comments from our community members.”

McCauley said he realizes change can be difficult, but feels the toter program’s efficiency has many positives, although those may take months or years to become evident.

“Many communities have employed such a system for years or even decades,” the mayor said. “We didn’t effect this transition without conducting considerable research before moving toward the acquisition of the toters. It’s already established efficiencies in our operations that we knew we would realize including employee safety and accountability for everyone’s garbage.”

McCauley said the city knew some residents had been flying under the radar screen – for example, dumping their trash in a neighbor’s receptacle and thereby avoiding paying for city waste collection services.

“It’s hardly fair to the rest of us who are paying for this invaluable service,” McCauley said.

Arnold said customers who have not yet received their toters may sign for and pick them up at Buckhannon City Hall, 70 E. Main St., or at the waste transfer station on Mud Lick Road.

“We do encourage people who are gone most of the day or who work out of town to stop by either location and sign for their toters so we can drop them off,” he said.

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