Pricey Pickup: Part II

How much money would be saved if backdoor pickup were dropped? It’s hard to say because there are so many variables. We do have some estimated numbers, but according to city customers, those numbers would have to be pretty high before they would give up their unique backdoor pickup.

Barbara Goerke loves Tallahassee. Believe it or not, she says one of the reasons why she continues to live here is her garbage pickup, which she says is just wonderful.

Barbara says, "I've always been real impressed with the Tallahassee backdoor pickup. I've lived in Michigan, Miami. I have children in Houston and Baltimore and all kinds of places. Nobody has better garbage pickup than we do."

Robert Collins adds, "I like it very much. They come out twice a week."

Christopher Robbins says, "I do like the trash service. I don't always use that second pickup, but it does come in handy."

Here are some number comparisons between different communities; Austin, Texas, population 660,000, charges $17.25 for once a week curbside pickup.

Gainesville, Florida, population 150,000, charges $26.42 for once week curbside pickup.

Tallahassee, population 160,000, charges $15.30 for twice a week pickup; one backdoor, the other curbside.

Robert Collins says, "I really like our garbage service. I think it provides an excellent service. Even though we don't use it twice a week, I like the fact they come to our doorway every Monday and make sure we don't have trash cans lining the streets."

Which brings us to the question of would it be more cost effective for the city to drop back door pickup or the second curbside pickup?

Barry Boldissar, City of Tallahassee Solid Waste GM, says, "It's really hard to say because it would have to go to bid, but generally curbside service, the cost would be less."

The city estimates the annual savings would be more than $730,000 if the backdoor pickup were replaced with curbside, and that's just for the half of the city maintained by the city. Despite the savings, not all customers are willing to let go of backdoor pickup.

Christopher Robbins says, "It depends on the reduction. Right now it is a convenience that I think is well worth it."

Most of the residents we spoke with say to keep the backdoor pickup and they don't mind paying for it.

Barbara Goerke says, "No not at all, I think the garbage men deserve to make more than lots of other people because it’s certainly a job I don't want to do."

Robert Collins adds, "$15 isn't that excessive. It makes sense to have someone come and get it. It reduces the clutter. I think we need to keep it the way it is. I like it."

Another comparison is Leon County residents pay waste management $10.22 a month for once a week curbside pickup.