Records show dramatic increase in reports this spring
By Allen Edmonds
City officials in both Belton and Raymore were tight-lipped about the reasons for dropping Jim’s Disposal as the solid waste contractor in both communities, but records obtained this week by The North Cass Herald show that residents experienced a dramatic increase in missed pickups since winter ended.
Because both cities took advantage of their contract’s escape clause, which allowed them to cancel their three-year commitment with Jim’s “without cause” with a 60-day notice, no reason was given for the cancellation.
However, records provided by the City of Belton show that citizen complaints jumped from 57 in December last year, 47 this past January and 32 this past February, to 102 in March and 520 in April. Through the first 29 days of May, missed pickup reports in Belton were 332.
Penalties are assessed at a rate of $150 per miss after the company is given a reasonable amount of time to correct the error.
In August of last year, for example, just one penalty of $150 was assessed against Jim’s. That number steadily rose over the course of the fall until it reached $7,500 for 15 incidents in November.
The performance then dropped during the winter, but began rising again in the spring, topping out in April with 163 incidents, for a penalty total of $24,450.
The total of penalties assessed against Jim’s through April of this year was $42,934. More than half of that amount was assessed in April.
In Raymore, the penalty total for 2018 and the first five months of 2019 was a whopping $112,200 for 748 official missed pickups.
According to Assistant City Manager Mike Ekey, a customer notification of missed service does not become an official missed pickup unless 1) if the notification to the city was received before 1 p.m. the day following the service day, the pickup was not made by 7 p.m. of the day of notification; or 2) if the notification was received after 1 p.m. the day following the service day, the pickup was not made by noon the following day.
Overall, he said, 387 notifications were made of missed pickups were made in 2018, and 416 notifications were made during the first five months of 2019. “Official” missed pickups for both years came to 748.
Raymore also experienced an uptick in recent months. In November of 2018, there were 58 reports, followed by 29 in December, 32 in January, 21 in February, 78 in March, 120 in April and 165 in May.
Jim’s Disposal is continuing to serve both cities until mid July. Both cities held pre-bid meetings this week for potential replacements.