Trash. It's been a hot or stinky topic this year in the City of Shreveport.
"We have to take care of our hygiene and we have to take care of one another. It's so easy for these kids to get sick or catch diseases and all kinds of things," said South Lakeshore resident Terrell Lars.
Over the last several weeks, trash piles have popped along his street, creating a smelly situation on hot days.
"One of the best environments you can have around here is when you try to eliminate that stuff, because the past is the past. Sometimes when you look around here you won't see that trash because most people here own their houses so they're trying to take care of their stuff. If someone does have trash piling up they need to come and collect it," added Lars.
Lars isn't the only one having trouble with his trash. KTBS has learned the issue stems from a lack of workers within the city's sanitation department.
Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins knew the issue needed to be addressed immediately and at the start of the year asked City Council to look into approving a "Clean City User Fee." After months of debate and discussion, the City Council approved $7 a month fee for Shreveport residents. But with the fee not starting until June 1, it's impact has yet to be felt.
"Right now, we're still probably 15 drivers or so short from having the number that we need to both staff all of our trash trucks as well as our knuckle boom. It takes two CDL drivers for the trucks. Our intent is to put out 40 garbage trucks," said Shreveport sanitation manager Gary Brown.
Being short more than a dozen full-time drivers has been putting the sanitation department under increased pressure for trash pickup. Brown says driver pay is a big reason why they aren't getting the qualified drivers they desperately need. He hopes that will change as more departmental funding begins to roll in as a result of the city's newly enacted "Clean City User Fee."
When it does come time to pull that can to the end of the sidewalk, it may surprise you just what these sanitation crews are able to take away and what they may leave behind in your driveway.
"We pretty much treat everything that's outside the realm of what you can fit in your garbage can as as bulk. It can be anything from leaves to a television to tires. We'll take up to four tires, yard trimmings and stuff," Brown said.
Another big issue this time of year for sanitation workers, because of the recent severe weather, is tree limbs. If they fall in the back yard you might have a contractor cut them up. Those contractors have to make sure the tree limbs all fit to be thrown away.
"If you use a commercial company to come in and cut a tree down or if you have renovations on your home with a contractor, we get a lot of that put out by the road, but in reality it's in violation of our ordinance. Those are supposed to be hauled off by the contractors and taken care of themselves," said Brown.
Items not collected are as follows:
- - No building materials, i.e., carpet, flooring, tile, countertops, cabinets, fencing, concrete, rocks, stones, etc.
- - No gasoline powered tools, auto parts.
- - No pianos, organs, swing or gym sets, trampolines, swimming pools and covers.
- - No stumps or roots.
The responsibility of keeping the streets clean doesn't just fall on the homeowner. If you're dealing with a trashy situation in your neighborhood, you can call the Shreveport Sanitation Department at (318) 673-6300.
They also encourage city workers themselves to report any trouble spots.