The city of Colorado Springs is exploring new regulations that could hold trash collection companies accountable for failing to communicate with customers.
Colorado Springs City Councilman Randy Helms said he is interested in helping residents who can’t reach companies that fail to pick up trash after seeing numerous complaints about the problem on social media.
“Nobody answers, nobody calls back, nobody emails,” he said of unresponsive trash companies.
Right now, the city doesn’t license trash companies and can offer no accountability or assistance to residents who are paying businesses, but are not receiving services. Residents can switch companies if they are dissatisfied.
Poor trash service was particularly problematic last year, when many residents took to social media to voice their frustration, as The Gazette previously reported.
Some residents wrote:
“Now it’s been two WEEKS since they’ve shown up. We have made calls and left messages and have not heard back.”
“Rats and raccoons are getting into my bins and I don’t have anywhere else to put it.”
A licensing program for trash haulers could ensure that if companies fail to respond to customers they could face fines, Helms said.
Councilwomen Nancy Henjum and Yolanda Avila joined Helms at a planning meeting Monday morning to discuss the need for an ordinance that would regulate trash companies and they asked the staff to research the best approach.
Avila has been in favor of greater regulation on trash haulers for years, in part, because in some parts of the city, trash trucks from different companies roll through every day.
“One of the issues I have is the wear and tear on our roads,” she said.
Homeowners associations can contract with a single trash company to limit the number of times trucks roll through, Helms said. But he is unsure how the city would regulate trash truck trips in older parts of town. He is not interested in limiting the number of companies that can operate locally. About six residential trash haulers operate in Colorado Springs.
The city also needs to determine the cost of a licensing program and whether it could pay for itself through fees.
The City Council would have to vote on the creation of a new licensing program for trash haulers and that has not been scheduled.