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New trash cart system gets mixed reviews in Shafter

It depends on who you talk to if you want to know the effectiveness of the new three-cart trash collection system that was implemented this year by the City of Shafter and American Refuse. According to Jeff Martin, owner and operator of American Refuse, the transition has been pretty smooth. It has had its bumps in the road, but overall, Martin has reported to the City Council at regular meetings that the system has been working and the public has been very helpful in their participation.

If you hear some of the residents that speak at the City Council meetings, or write letters, the opinion differs greatly. A recent letter read by Randy Toews at a council meeting said that he bought his home with one of the conditions on him buying the property was the alley access provided to dispose of the trash. This has been a regular complaint in the many letters and opinions expressed at meetings regarding the issue.

Resident Garry Nelson spoke out at a meeting and told the council that he believes that property values may go down due to the new system. This has also been a common opinion.

Driving down the streets in Shafter, you can see the new system at work. There are cans in the streets, next to the curb. It appears that this may impact the amount of parking space vehicles have, as well as causing possible safety issues when navigating the streets where the cans are set out, if you are not paying careful attention to the road.

Resident Mona Hernandez, who has had her home go from alley service to curbside service, said, "I think that it is a disaster. I can't stand to see all of those cans in the street. It is an eyesore. I wish that we could get our alley service back."

This was echoed by Rafael Martinez, who has had to roll his cans out each week, making it harder for him to find a place to park his vehicles. "It is such a hassle to maneuver around all of the cans, having to find a place to park. Even when you are going down the street, you can't even drive across town without having to avoid people's cans in the street. It is a mess."

Even though there are opponents to the new system, it also has its proponents. "I love the new system. I think that it will help our environment and our city," said Moira Fuentes. "I think that it is good for our kids to see how we are trying to take care of the world that they are growing up in."

American Refuse, the city's trash vendor, says they are getting support from many residents. Lynnda Martin, of American Refuse, said she is getting plenty of "great job" letters. "I have received calls out of the blue thanking us for the job that we are doing. They really appreciate the work that we are putting in for the city of Shafter," she said

Martin also said that they have gotten a lot of positive reports on their bulky item pickup service that is now available for residents. They can make an appointment to have their item picked up and they will come out free of charge.


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