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'Please excuse Mr. Smith from taking out the trash'

Posted November 10, 2009

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— Raleigh officials might soon require a doctor's note from people who say they are too infirm to take their garbage cans to the curb for weekly trash collection.

The city's Need Assistance Program is open to all disabled residents or anyone 65 and older. Anyone who wants to take advantage of the program calls a number to get his or her name on a list, and city workers will go into his or her back yard on trash collection day to get the garbage.

The problem is that city officials think some people are truly taking advantage of the program.

"There's no verification for that process. It's simply an honor system," City Manager Russell Allen said.

Allen notes that about 4,700 of the 110,540 Raleigh households are on the assistance list, compared with about 2,000 in Charlotte, which requires verification from its 203,524 customers that someone cannot physically carry the trash to the curb for pick-up.

Trash can, garbage can, trash collection, garbage collection Reducing backyard trash pick-ups could save money

Requiring verification to participate in the Need Assistance Program could save Raleigh about $450,000 a year, Allen said. The City Council is expected to discuss the proposal on Thursday.

Some local residents said they think the city should keep things how they are.

"They should go in the back for (people) because sometimes those trash cans are real heavy," Billy Ferrell said.

Eleanor Hallem said her son usually puts out her trash on Thursday nights for her Friday pick-up, but she said she wouldn't mind getting a doctor's note in the future to get crews to collect the garbage from her back yard if her son isn't around.

"With the economy, you don't want the city to spend more money then they need to if it's not necessary," Hallem said.


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  • atozca Nov 11, 2009

    "Requiring verification to participate in the Need Assistance Program could save Raleigh about $450,000 a year, Allen said."

    I would like to know how he came to this conclusion. Does that include the added cost of personnel to verify their need? I can't imagine why it could cost so much more for the garbage man to walk a few more feet to help out the elderly.

  • familyfour Nov 11, 2009

    Why is it that our trash weighs more than the groceries we carried in the house?

    I wonder that, too!

  • familyfour Nov 11, 2009

    I say let the crew on the routes tell ya.....they know....they are the ones in and out of there all the time.....

    Anyone can get a doctor's note.....till they really need one.

    I can imagine the list of those on the "can't carry out my trash" also look like the line of those who "can't work"...receive a check...and have an operating garage in their back yard..

    Mercy, I am long winded today.

  • superman Nov 11, 2009

    My wife had open heart surgery and the doctor will not even give her a handicapped parking permission slip.

  • theroadislong Nov 11, 2009

    This is kind of ridiculous. Yes, there are people who cannot take their trash out, especially the elderly and certain disabled citizens. But really, this comes down to laziness. We already see that a city that requires verification saves about half the amount of a city that does not require verification. Unfortunately, there are too many people who take advantage of "honor systems" and that's why they hardly exist anymore. Your trash is too heavy? Eat less. Truth is, these people don't want to push their dumpsters to the curb, but they push a cart full of all those groceries every week. Get over it and take out your trash people!

  • ICTrue Nov 11, 2009

    Honor system,,in the city...now that's funny

  • FromClayton Nov 11, 2009

    would like to think the person who thought of making them verify. This should save the city some money they can put to better use. Thanks for doing your part to keep costs down during tough econimic times.

  • mrtwinturbo Nov 11, 2009

    Why is it that our trash weighs more than the groceries we carried in the house?

  • hpr641 Nov 11, 2009

    The city allows those that are too infirm to haul their garbage cans to/from the curb to have the garbage pickup crews do it for them ... to receive that $120 PRIVILEGE, is requiring them to call their doctor to have him/her fax a letter to the city to verify the infirmity really too much to ask?

  • Whatthehey Nov 10, 2009

    One more reason healthcare and medical insurance costs are rising. What a terrible waste of physicians' skills and very limited time to requie them to write notes to justify the City of Raleigh not picking up a cripple's or old geezer's trash. The City should have pay the doctor's bill rather than the insurance company, or figure there will always be a few deadbeats that get away with bogus excuses and "deal with it".