, Muskogee, OK

January 11, 2014

City to alter trash routes

Revisions to routes will take effect March 1

By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Public Works officials are aiming at a March 1 start date to implement revisions to the city’s residential sanitation routes.

The revisions are expected to affect about 2,400 customers, who will see new trash pick-up days. The new schedules are being prompted by a change from a four-day-per-week route schedule to five days per week.

Kimbra Scott, a spokeswoman for the city, said a map of the revised trash routes is being prepared. Once the map is finalized, officials will announce which residents will be affected by the route revisions.

Scott said the revised schedules will accommodate the once-per-week collection services already available to the city’s residential customers. The only noticeable difference, she said, will be experienced by the estimated 2,400 customers whose trash will be picked up on a different day.

Public Works Director Mike Stewart said the revisions are being made for two reasons: to address equipment and manpower issues. He said some of the city’s trash trucks are old and require more maintenance, and staffing the routes have become more difficult.

“The first thing (Assistant Public Works Director) Jim Wixom has to do many mornings is see if we have enough people to run the routes,” Stewart said earlier this week when explaining the idea to city councilors. “We have had to borrow employees from other departments, which can create tension.”

Stewart said population growth on Muskogee’s east side has created routes that have become too big to manage effectively. Sanitation workers must deal with the largest routes in southeast Muskogee on what employees refer to as “terrible Tuesdays” because of the time it takes to collect trash from residential customers within the district.

Stewart said the only problem he foresees — other than the learning curve for residents who will have to adjust to new pick-up days — is the scheduling of trash routes that are delayed because of holidays that fall on weekdays. He said trash collection along those routes may be delayed until the following Saturday.

The route revisions, which will reduce the number of stops trash crews will have to make each collection day, will free up a couple of employees. Stewart, who said the city’s sanitation division has been fully staffed only once since he became Public Works director, said those workers would be able to fill in gaps when another worker might be off because of injuries or absent for another reason and may reduce overtime within the division.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or