Budget cuts mean less brush pickup

Monday, April 21, 2008 at 2:07am

Metro Public Works will be responsible for more work with 40 fewer employees as part of the budget cuts proposed by Mayor Karl Dean.

More tangibly, the department will have to reduce its Metro-wide brush pickup program from five times per year to just three.

Public Works was forced to not renew its $1.9 million contract with SRS, Inc., which is currently responsible for 75 percent of Nashville’s brush removal.

“When I ran for office, my constituents said they didn’t think five pickups were enough,” District 23 Councilwoman Emily Evans said. “They wanted more like six or seven. And now that we’re cutting to three, that sentiment is only going to be exacerbated.”

Public Works Executive Director Billy Lynch said he believed his department was capable of handling more work, despite 40 layoffs.

“What most people don’t realize is we’ve been doing this for four years,” Lynch said. “I don’t think there’s any ifs, ands or buts about it, we can pick up the slack. It’s not a novelty or something new to Public Works.”

But Lynch and Council members admit SRS did a good job picking up the brush along Nashville’s 12 routes.

“The question is, can the department handle the extra work,” District 7 Councilman Erik Cole said. “They say they can.”

When Lynch took office four years ago, Public Works removed brush on a by-appointment basis. Lynch said that system simply didn’t work.

So SRS was brought in to help improve the situation. Right now the pickups happen five times a year with a total of 18 trucks doing the work.

The new system will see 12 Metro-run trucks with just one man doing the same work just three times per year.

Lynch encouraged Nashvillians who know they will use the brush pickup program to sign up for the email reminder system so they know exactly when their neighborhood cleanup will happen.

Additionally, Lynch is working with the Davidson County sheriff’s office to pick up some of the slack with litter pickup and other maintenance.

“We have no question we can pick up the brush and the reason being is we’ve been doing it for the last four years,” Lynch said. “We’re the ones that created the routes and put the system together. Now we’re just going to have to get to work.”

Filed under: City News
By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yesterday it was from 4 to 3.The program is/was inefficient to begin with and an eysore wasteing gas, money and time driving around looking for brush.A program such as this should be an On Call system.If you have brush to get rid of you call and get put on the list for pickup. That isn't too difficult and requires less resources and will reduce the time it lies on the side of the curb createing an eyesore.

By: Funditto on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I agree.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

They tried it that way and people lost their minds. I like the idea of using the sheriff department, get the inmates out there doing some free labor.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

BidPapa wins on this one.

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

This is an excellent place to cut budget. Is this service really necessary? I think not. Rent a truck and pick up the brush yourself or pay a private service to do it.Or even better, BigPapa's idea.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Last week I witnessed a whole bunch of people on Old Hickory Blvd in Hermitage area in the median picking up trash. They were all wearing an orange vest quoting, "I am a drunk driver" or something like that.... either way, it was a great idea. Just think of all the politicians we could outfit and then get them to collect the brush! lol

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Just get a truck and do it yourself.

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I saw that too girliegirl, on Saturday. :)

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Don't you just LOVE progress?! Funny, I didn't see Briley in the group.... hmmmmm

By: TRHJR on 12/31/69 at 6:00

girlie..... can ya`ll see p toler out in the grass pick`en up trash... ok ok i know if the grass was high ya could not see him.......glad he is in d-county....

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I wasn't making a reference to law-abiding politicians.... it was to the 100-mile-per-hour-drunken-driving politicians we have.

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Sorry to disappoint, but I like Parker. He's more honest than most of the lawyers who would like his position, especially those who've vied for his seat in recent history.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I'm picturing a Cool Hand Luke senario... "Taking off... Boss!"

By: girliegirl on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I still like BigP's idea... it has legs, it's cheap, English is spoken, they'll be wearing orange..... And given all the drunk drivers we arrest daily, you could pick up/clean up the city many times over! Woo-hoo! Seriously, Daron Hall should jump on this one. We could make it a "green" project as well, by incorporating the recycling dept. Think Dean would go for it?

By: breathofdeath on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Forget it girliegirl. BigPapa's idea makes too much sense for government work. Remember this age old motto: "It doesn't have to make sense, it's government policy".