Residents decry halt in trash collection

July 15, 2009 (GARY, Ind.) In the meantime, the garbage piles keep growing.

A number of Gary residents say they are angry about the mayor's plan to continue to privatize trash service for the city.

"You got kids in the city, and you got the smell and such. And they pay it through the property taxes, but [the mayor] wants to change to privatization. And everybody is losing their jobs. They put a token few Gary people on the work force but you've wiped out the whole work force by going private," one Gary resident said.

Six months ago, Gary Mayor Rudy Clay brought in Allied Waste Management to pick up the trash when he claims the city could no longer afford to do so.

"We tried to do it in house with two trucks. It's humanly impossible to pick up 112 tons of garbage with two trucks and only three people," Clay said.

Opposition to the mayor claims that Allied Waste, who is in contract negotiations with the city, was ordered to stop picking up curbside trash due to the fact there is no city ordinance allowing them to perform the service.

"The Superior court judge in Hammond, Indiana ruled and said to the City of Gary that the city council shall, must, pass an ordinance that says you can put the fees in. So quite naturally they have not done that," Clay said.

The mayor said he will be in meetings the rest of the day to discuss this issue, and that he is confident that there will be a signed deal between the sanitary district and Allied Waste on Friday. Then it will go before the city council on Tuesday.

"The mayor said that eight months ago, and here we are eight months later without a signed contract. The mayor stopped picking up garbage, and here we are with garbage piling up," Gary resident Jim Nowacki said.

"It is real sad that we have to live in this city and pay taxes and can't get the garbage picked up," resident Christine Leonard said.

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