Mayor, Trash Board Streamline Communication About Green Waste System

Tuesday, October 29th 2013, 7:29 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa's mayor has made some changes at City Hall to make sure he gets news about what's happening with the trash system.

It's part of the fallout over the green waste system that didn't work as the city planned.

The trash board met Tuesday afternoon as part of a restructuring at City Hall to make sure the mayor will be made aware of any problems going on, particularly with green waste program.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett said it could even save some money by eliminating a couple of positions that were up to be filled. The streamlined plan would have some employees, who were reporting to the City Manager, instead, reporting directly to the mayor.

"We saw that there was a little bit of disorganization on reporting relationships, on communication, it seemed a little difficult to get information to the right sources and that sort of thing. So, now we just have a better organized department," Bartlett said.

10/24/2013 Related Story: Tulsa City Council Discusses How To Fix Green Waste Predicament

And that change is effective immediately.

The trash board also took up the sometimes thorny issue of giving refunds for the green stickers that people were told they needed to buy and put on their bags of green waste. Even bagged and stickered green waste was burned, instead of being mulched.

The city has picked up about 500,000 bags of green waste in the last year. That's 50 cents a bag for most of it--there are some months when green waste collection is free.

The trash board has talked about refunds, but they think there is no practical way to figure out who had stickers and who didn't and how much they might owe each person.

Instead, the board is going to leave that issue up to a task force that the City Council and the TARE board will form together. The first discussion of that task force will be this Thursday.

But it doesn't seem likely that there will be any kind of refund on the stickers.

There may possibly be a refund on the monthly bill. The City Manager said it would be good faith gesture on behalf of the TARE board to perhaps restore some of the public trust in the city's trash system.