Reporter/Lynchburg Bureau Chief
5:36 PM EDT, May 23, 2012
It takes most of the day for public works crews to pick up garbage in Lynchburg. Trash collectors work four-days-a-week, stopping at more than 22,000 homes.
The service is funded by a decal program. Residents pay a fee, and put a sticker on their trash can.
"I think it's a very efficient and effective way of getting trash pickup paid for," said Joanne Pierce, a Lynchburg resident who pays for trash decals.
Most people who live in Lynchburg, more than 95-percent, pay for a trash decal and display it properly.
"It's a very small minority that's abusing the system," said Lynchburg Public Works director, Dave Owen.
Some are leaving their garbage on the curb, without a sticker or a trash can. These people are supposed to buy tags, which are good for one-time removal, but many are neglecting to make the purchase.
"Right now it's our policy and practice to go ahead and pick up any bags, including those that are not tagged," said Owen.
City officials are considering the idea of not picking up trash, unless the proper decals are purchased and displayed.
That doesn't sit well with residents like Pierce.
"I feel like it would punish those of us who are paying, by having trash littering our streets," Pierce said.
Others believe not picking up trash would send a strong message.
"Yeah, they shouldn't pick it up," said Lynchburg resident, Vera Brandt. "That would be one way for people to learn they have to have a decal."
If trash collectors end up leaving bags on the curb, city officials plan to follow up and get the offenders to comply.
Whatever it takes to get garbage off the street will make people like Pierce happy.
"Racoons get into the trash at night," said Pierce. "I've seen crows get into garbage bags, and that would really be a mess that's unfair for the rest of us to put up with."
Public Works Director Dave Owen is studying different solutions to this problem. He plans to report his findings to city council at a meeting next month.
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