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Trash Talk Over In Raleigh; Pilot Program To Be Citywide

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council is talking trash no more. On Tuesday, members voted 5-3 to take a pilot curbside trash program citywide.

Raleigh City Councilman Philip Isley said he does not support once-a-week curbside garbage collection.

"As a southern city and a southerner myself, I just feel like we are changing one of the unique qualities of our city that we've lived with for decades," he said.

Michael Regan and Neal Hunt want to dump the idea, too.

"I can't figure out how we are going to save money by not laying anyone off and buying all this new equipment," Hunt said.

"Solid waste is the Rodney Dangerfield of environmental issues. It doesn't get the respect it deserves," City Councilwoman Janet Cowell said.

A majority of the council now supports ending twice-a-week backyard garbage pickup. Mayor Charles Meeker said the switch can save the city up to $20 million in 10 years. With new guidelines to the pilot program, a majority now agrees with the change.

"I think cost savings and efficiency are two things our constituents expect of us," City Councilman James West said.

Inspectors will be hired to make sure the cans are not left on the curb. Solid Waste employees will not lose their jobs and people with steep driveways, the elderly and the disabled can still ask for backyard service.

Al Taylor said he will roll his can to the curb, but he is glad to know there is an option if his disability worsens.

"If I'm not able to do it, I think it's good that they are offering that for me and for other people who are not able to do that," he said.

The council also voted to change the color of the cans from tan to green. More than 100,000 cans will now be ordered. Once they arrive, it will take about six months to get the entire city up and running.


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