By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
With a light agenda and light attendance, the main voice in the room Tuesday night was usually quiet and amicable Nathaniel “Peaches” Holyfield, Jr., who gave an extensive report on the City of Hope’s sanitation and garbage collection activities.
Holyfield, who originally started work for the City of Hope back in 1987 in the Wastewater Department, had headed the Sanitation Dept. for the past ten years. He told the City Board that he currently oversees seven employees; the total department has eight personnel, including himself, he said.
“We do the pickups for 3,500 residential units, and 502 commercial entities. We collect four times during the week, twice in the north and twice in the south,” Holyfield said.
“We run Tuesday and Friday in the north and Monday and Thursday in the south; we pickup between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. on those days,” he said.
Holyfield also described the rubbish and debris collections, which drew a question from Board member Trevor Coffee.
“How much is too much?” Coffee asked Holyfield.
Holyfield didn’t cited a specific standard, but said that generally a “waist high” pile is the limit.
“We don’t want our men to hurt themselves,” he said.
Holyfield said his department operates on approximately $500,000 annually.
“And, we always stay within that budget,” he said. City Manager Catherine Cook concurred with Holyfield’s statement.
Holyfield cited future goals for the department as possible implementation of recycling and automated pickup with containers.
In brief comments, Hope Mayor Steve Montgomery said, “We have visited these topics in the past.”
The most extensive discussion in recent years on automated pickup had occurred in February 2016, when a proposal was floated by City Manager Catherine Cook to change the garbage pickup methods surfaced.
Then and now, the City of Hope uses a traditional collection method of residential trucks, personnel, and trash bags. Cook’s 2016 presentation involved a more modern style with an automated truck with robotic-style arms or hooks, plastic 90-gallon containers, and personnel largely limited to the truck’s driver.
“This would represent a fundamental change in the way we’ve done the collections for years. It would be a whole new system, and change would impact everyone involved. There are advantages, and some would say disadvantages, but it would be very different in how things are done now,” Cook said back on February 2, 2016.
At that time, then-Mayor Dennis Ramsey called for a cost-benefit analysis, while Don Still expressed his concerns about the containers simply be rolled out to the sidewalks or roads and being left there all week by residents.
Regarding Holyfield’s other cited goal, possible recycling, Cook said Tuesday, “This is something that many residents have been interested in, in the past, and several citizens expressed interest in providing input.”
Montgomery noted the investment involved in recycling, such as designated bins and storage. He suggested that the City of Hope could perhaps find another municipal or district partner in the area for a recycling effort.
In other Hope City Board news from Tuesday night:
• The board approved the recommended appointment of Sam Bradford to the Hope Housing Authority Board of Commissions. Bradford replaces William Tolleson, and his new term will extend to December 2022.
• The board also approved a grading survey by SCS Engineers for design of the grading plan for the old “Area A” city landfill. The survey bid along with supplement services and planning specifications was accepted at $12,100.
• A scheduled presentation by Chamber Director Beckie Moore was rescheduled for October 16; Moore was unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting due to family circumstances, according to Cook.
• The annual Hope Board tour was tentatively scheduled for October 30; in recent years, the Hope Board of Directors have taken a day to tour various City of Hope facilities and departments.
By Rick Kennedy, managing editor