Roanoke City Leaders Respond to Trash Issue - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Roanoke City Leaders Respond to Trash Issue & New Petition Started

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Skip Decker with Roanoke's Solid Waste Management makes it clear the city is listening and learning.

He says he's seen the footage of employees dragging trash several blocks through downtown Roanoke to get to the new trash compactor, and of long lines when the employees finally got to the compactor.

"If they move their trash periodically during the day, it won't be this overall six or seven cans coming here at 10 or 10:30 at night," Decker says. "It's an adjustment change. Yes, change is difficult."

Decker says this is only the second for week for the program and city leaders are already working to make some changes.

He shows us where they plan to put a new security sensor on the door so there's no risk of it closing on employees. He hopes to have that installed by Monday or Tuesday.

"We have addressed the issue of cleanliness: when we come down here in the morning we clean the area," Decker says. "There's four or five times this whole area is being cleaned a day."

While city leaders are trying to make this trash compactor work for everyone, a new petition signed by at least 30 different businesses shows there are still some major concerns.

Metro restaurant manager Beheathrlyn Kirby says the petition shows how many people, not just restaurant owners, who would like another alternative to the trash compactor.

"One place I spoke with said someone actually quit because of it," Kirby says. "He said, 'I wasn't hired for this. This isn't in my job description. I'm not a trash man.'"

For city leaders like Decker, a petition against this plan is confusing, when some businesses originally petitioned for the compactor to be installed to get trash off the streets. He says so far recycling has increased three times over.

He says he expects business owners will end up saving money, but owners say they are spending more money on labor when their employees have to spend time walking to the compactor.

They plan to give the petition to Mayor David Bowers in the next few days.