Trash trucks rented for collections in Norfolk

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by David Alan

WVEC.com

Posted on March 2, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 2:16 PM

NORFOLK -- Ed Anderson says he knew something was different about the trash truck that came through his neighborhood last week.

“It was brand new and it was shinny," Anderson said.  

The Willoughby Terrace resident grabbed his camera and snapped pictures of the truck that had a  big, blue sign that stated it was from Tampa, Florida

Norfolk is spending $35,000 a month to lease five trash trucks from companies in Florida and Maryland because half of the city’s 78 trucks are sitting in the shop, deemed by the city to be too unsafe to be out on the streets.

“We are mandated to get everyone’s garbage picked up,” said Pamela Marino with Norfolk Public Works.

The trash trucks are off the streets as part of an upgrade to safety standards.  The city admits it took the recent death of a veteran trash collector to get there.

"I would say that's true. It took that for us to stand down and make sure that this doesn't happen again," Marino admitted.

That stand down put trash collection days behind, forcing the city to issue updates on pickups and asking the public for patience.

Some of the city’s trash trucks are getting significant repairs. However, some issues are as simple as gages and the horn.

Taxpayer money is used to keep city trash trucks maintained, so why are do many vehicles have so many issues that half of them are out of service.

"Who’s responsibility? Ultimately, the city administration would be responsible," Vice Mayor Anthony Burfoot stated.

That would be a question for new city manager Marcus Jones, who arrived in Norfolk last month promising transparency.  

Jones has promised to be open, but a city spokesman said Jones wouldn’t address the trash truck issue with 13News.

Anthony Burfoot said he's gravely concerned the leased trash trucks were not part of a conversation with Council.  He also said as long as there is money in the budget for the trucks, they aren't a waste of taxpayers’ money but an example of good budgeting.

"Things happen, but at the end of the day, I believe our administration is fiscally responsible," Burfoot stated.

Meantime, Anderson wonders if it would have been cheaper to fix city trash trucks rather than rent trucks and whether the city is spending his tax dollars wisely.

The leasing bill could top $140,000.

Norfolk residents with questions about how tax dollars are being spent should call City Manager Marcus Jones at 664-4242 because You Paid For It.

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