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Richard LeBouef, right, proposed a weekly trash pickup for incorporated areas in St. Landry Parish at Tuesday’s Eunice Board of Aldermen’s meeting. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)

Weekly trash pickup proposed

Eunice officials to hold town hall meeting on idea

By Harlan Kirgan
A proposal to change from twice-weekly to once-a-week garbage pickup will have to make its way through a town hall meeting before it becomes reality.
Eunice aldermen decided on that route after they heard from Richard LeBouef, executive director of the St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Commission, at Tuesday’s city meeting.
LeBouef first presented to proposal at a September meeting of the St. Landry Parish Council Public Works Committee meeting.
“We think we have a better way to do the waste pickup,” he said at Tuesday’s meeting.
There are about 16,000 twice-week trash pickups in incorporated areas and 19,000 once-a-week pickups in rural areas, he said.
“We found that within the city most of the people who are using the second pickup are people who missed the first one,” he said.
The second pickup results in a can that is only up to 20% full, he said.
But LeBouef said, “We don’t want to take something away without giving something back.”
Under the proposal trash pickup would be conducted in a grid system with weekly pickup throughout the parish, he said.
Regular pickups with grappler trucks would be scheduled along with more litter abatement crews, he said.
The proposal would utilize smaller rear-loading garbage collection trucks to reduce the use of heavier trucks on roads, he said.
“St. Landry Parish is the only parish in the 13-parish area that has biweekly pickup except for the city of Broussard,” LeBouef said.
Alderman Ernie Blanchard said, “My constituents already hit me up” on the trash pickup proposal.
The biggest concern is the stink that might generated from trash sitting in cans for a week before it is picked up, he said.
“When we passed a tax for that I thought it ... was passed for pickup twice-a-week,” he said.
LeBouef said the tax was advertised for the schedule of weekly in rural areas and biweekly in incorporated areas, but the ballot item did not specify a schedule.
Alderwoman Connie Thibodeaux said she has heard concerns about a smell issue with weekly pickup.
“The smell is bad enough with two days a week,” she said.
There is also a problem with the collection of white items, she said.
LeBouef said the plan includes regular use of a grappler truck for white items, which includes sofas and other large objects.
Alderwoman Germaine Simpson repeated a complaint she has made about litter generated by the automated trash pickup system. Trash trucks are equipped with a grabber that takes a can and flips it upside to empty it in the truck. The procedure often winds up littering streets.
Simpson also said citizens are no longer allowed to take large items to the city barn.
“They can’t dump at the barn anymore. Then we got one day pickup a week,” she said.
Mayor Scott Fontenot said picking up trash efficiently has been an long term issue.
Weekly pickup would reduce wear and tear on city streets and litter.
I”m not saying I’m in favor of the once-a-week pickup. I have concerns like everybody else about the garbage sitting in the can that long,” he said.
LeBouef admitted there is a problem with trash flying out cans, but correctly bagged trash eliminates most that litter.
LeBouef said the Solid Waste Commission wants to make the change within six months and expects to save money.
LeBouef suggested a town hall meeting to air concerns about the proposal.
No date was set for a meeting.

Eunice Today

465 Aymond St.
Eunice, LA 70535
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Fax: 337-457-3122