By Frank Lewis
Effective immediately the city of Portsmouth will cease the rotating schedule for trash collection and return to established days that are the same every week and do not change due to holidays.
The city’s trash collection was moved to a rotating collection schedule which changed each holiday approximately two years ago. The long standing schedule was changed to reduce or eliminate overtime caused by the holidays. Analysis of annual overtime revealed some savings but not enough to overcome the customer dissatisfaction that the change caused.
“We were not able to effectively communicate the rotating schedule to people,” Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen told the Daily Times. “We don’t have the resources, the people or the time to try to communicate that on a basis when it happens every time.”
In a news release Allen explained: “It is imperative that municipal government provide minimum levels of effective service and it became obvious in my first month on the job that the city service was ineffective and that the public was extremely dissatisfied. As I drove around the city it quickly became noticeable that residents left their trash receptacles out all week because no one was sure what day was trash pick-up. Any cost savings that would have been realized through the rotating schedule is not worth the headaches it caused because the service being provided is totally ineffective. While the attempt to eliminate overtime and save money was noble in the end it was not worth the confusion and frustration that the schedule caused.”
Allen said it is his policy to respond to the concerns of the citizens of Portsmouth, and this actions is one such response.
“The people that called in and expressed their frustration all wanted it to go back to the way it used to be,” Allen told the Times. “We’re all about customer service. We realize people are frustrated and confused, and they wanted it to be made simple again. So we did that.”
Allen said residents should set their trash receptacles out to the street on the days that they historically had trash collection. If citizens are unsure of which set days their trash was collected or are new to Portsmouth they should contact The Public Service Department at 740-354-7766.
“The City of Portsmouth is committed to providing excellent customer service to our customers,” Allen said. “We ask for patience from the citizens as we deal with the inclement weather and the back log of trash collection the weather has caused.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.