Update on Tree Limb and Brush Pick-Up

This announcement was just made from Dallas’ Sanitation Department regarding storm debris pick up:

The City of Dallas will provide free storm debris collection for Dallas’ Sanitation customers affected by the record snowfall that hit North Texas on February 11 and 12.  Customers who need to clear their property must place cut and stacked tree limbs at the curb.  Customers do not need to call 311 to request collection.  Citations for “out of cycle” brush waste will not be issued until after March 15.

Sanitation brush collection crews will work overtime and Saturdays to pick up all storm debris on customer’s property.  The debris will be picked up on customers’ normal brush/bulk schedule and will likely require 4-5 weeks to complete pick-up.  Customers can look up their brush collection week here:  “Bulk Collection Map” and “2010 Bulk Collection Calendar.”

Dallas Sanitation customers may also take storm debris to the following two locations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and must show proof of residency with a driver’s license or current water bill. 

Bachman Transfer Station
9500 Harry Hines Blvd.

McCommas Bluff Landill
5100 Youngblood Rd.

Storm debris will be chipped into mulch and will be available at no charge to customers for home use.  Customers can pick up mulch at either location—just in time for spring gardening.

No Need to Call 311 Before Putting Tree Limbs on Curb for Pick-Up

Great update from Jeff Siegel over on the Advocate’s Lakewood/East Dallas Blog:

Just got off the phone with Mary Nix, who oversees Dallas’ sanitation efforts, and she says the city is rescinding its call first policy about downed tree limbs from last week’s storm. Just put them on the curb, she said, and they’ll eventually be picked up. It may take a couple of weeks, but the trucks will get to them.

Nix said officials realized that there were so many downed limbs that it wasn’t practical to ask residents to call 311 first. I told her that was a fine decison, and that people around here would be glad to hear it. Expect the official announcement to be made on Wednesday.

Council Discusses Sanitation Worker Pay Increase

Today the City Council discussed a contract with a company that provides the city with the workers who ride the trash trucks and pick up our garbage. (Agenda Item #6)

The question arose about whether it was fair to pay these workers minimum wage ($5.85/hr), rather than a living wage. In Dallas, it’s not possible to live on $5.85/hr. To be just out of poverty level, you have to make more than $10/hr. The discussion was whether to require the contractor to pay their employees $8.16/hr. That figure is not based on any analysis of what a livable wage is within our city, but simply represents the lowest hourly amount that the City pays its part-time employees.

We talk a lot about “economic development” in the Southern Sector. That usually takes the form of tax abatements or other incentives to COMPANIES, with the assumption that the company will improve the lives of people in South Dallas. This is a trickle-down theory of improving the Southern Sector.

A more direct way to help is to make sure that people who work for the city make a living wage. More than 63% of the men who collect our garbage live in South or West Dallas. Twenty-five percent of these men have been working as garbagemen from 1-3 years, and another 25% have worked more than 3 years. They fulfill one of the most fundamental services for our city, and are out there picking up trash during the heat of the summer, the rain of spring and fall, and the cold of winter. They deserve to make a living wage.

The council voted to approve the contract at the minimum wage, 15 to 5. I was among the five to vote against it (along with Medrano, Salazar, Atkins, and Davis). If we had required an increase to $8.16, it would have added $0.17 per month to our sanitation bills. That’s a very small cost to pay to ensure that our garbagmen are making a fair wage for their hard work.

In the coming months, we will have a council briefing on requiring contractors who provide temporary staff support to the city to pay those staffers more than minimum wage. If we decide to create our own minimum wage, then we can cancel the sanitation contract that was approved today, and have companies rebid at the new minimum wage for city workers.