Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Clean As A Whistling Dixie Beer

Last month I posted about the City Council pending rejection of the city's contract for trash collection in the French Quarter, CBD and Warehouse District. Well the contract has been approved and implemented and so far, if this article is accurate, most people appear to be happy with the results.

Just last month, French Quarter denizen Louis Sahuc was among the most vocal critics of the city's new trash-collection contract for the Quarter and the Central Business District, one of three new garbage deals that riled up residents across town for their hefty price tags and newfangled service enhancements that many derided as over the top.

But days into the contract's seven-year term, Sahuc is so impressed with the result that he has agreed to appear in a TV commercial for SDT Waste & Debris, the Chalmette-based contractor whose work in four downtown neighborhoods has left them tidier than many residents recall ever seeing.

That is not to say that the current arrangement does not have its critics, mainly with the requirement that residents us large refuse containers provided free by SDT.

Meanwhile, residents of the French Quarter and Central Business District have won a key concession from City Hall: After weeks of objections, at least some of them will not have to use the plastic trash bins that are designed to be lifted by mechanized arms on new garbage trucks.

Residents of those neighborhoods who say that the wheeled bins would be too big to store on their small lots or inside their apartments will be able to ask City Hall for an exemption from the cart requirement. Those who get excused will be allowed to put out trash in three-ply black garbage bags without facing fines.

Residents who don't get the dispensation will have to use the 32-gallon trash bins designated for downtown areas. Residents of most other neighborhoods will have to use 96-gallon bins.

Sanitation Director Veronica White said requests should be submitted by mail and will be evaluated on a "case-by-case basis." In a letter to French Quarter residents, she said exemptions will be approved for "residents who are disabled" or in cases where "the infrastructure does not allow for the storage of the roll cart."

Whatever the merit of the critics, I'm sure these issues will get ironed out over time. The time for trash talk is over and the time for picking it up is upon us.

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