BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Over the past few months, the City of Birmingham has been rolling out its Uniform Garbage Cart program to improve safety and worker efficiency. But it turns out, not everyone is included in the plan.
CBS 42’s Your Voice Your Station hotline has been getting calls from residents in the Highland Park neighborhood who tell us the city stopped picking up their garbage or is about to stop doing so. Plus, they have not gotten bins the city spent over $6 million on as part of its new Uniform Garbage Cart program for residents.
Tyler Conger lives in the Hanover Circle Historic District. He’s the HOA President of his building – Hanover Court.
“We’re the perfect limbo here,” Conger said. “We’re in between not getting private service, not getting qualified for the bins.”
In neighborhoods like Highland Park, the streets are packed in tight with homes built up instead of spaced out. Conger said the terrain adds an additional challenge.
“We’re a zero-lot line, so there’s no place for us to even consider putting that so our only option is to take it to a public landfill,” Conger said.
The new city truck can no longer fit down alleys and, as Conger showed CBS 42, there’s no space for them to get a private company’s dumpster because the building fills the lot line.
“By and large, it kind of feels like we are on our own – that’s how it’s left for us,” Conger said. “There isn’t an immediate resolution that’s come up and we’re turning to the leaders of the city who’ve put this plan in place to help us out.”
Mayor Randall Woodfin brought this up at last and this week’s council meetings, saying the city has been servicing residents out of kindness.
“There will be a change and I know change will be difficult – we will not be able to grandfather everybody in,” Woodfin said. “We have serviced people for 30, 40, 50 years that we should not have, but we did it anyway.”
We found in council minutes from May 23 of this year that the council did vote to update the ordinance saying, “No garbage cart shall be provided at city expense to any premises containing more than four (4) dwelling units.”
Businesses along residential routes can apply for up to two carts at an additional fee.
“Multifamily dwellings needing more than four carts will no longer be serviced by the City of Birmingham,” Woodfin said.
Councilor Valerie Abbott said the cart rollout has not been as smooth in her district.
“The people that had exceptions, the city was going to know that they had exceptions beforehand, and instead they seem to be operating by complaint, so you have to call 311 to get somebody to look at your situation,” Abbott said.
As for Hanover Court’s situation, she said the program is run by the mayor’s office.
“That’s something that the mayor’s people are going to have to figure out,” Abbott said. “One size does not fit all. You have to get that in your head really fast that one size does not fit all.”
Conger said all they want is to keep using the city’s service.
“We’re willing to do what it takes – we can put the cans where you need us to even if I as the HOA president have to roll them out each morning and put them back,” Conger said. “I’m happy to do it, I just need the cans and need to be able to put them somewhere.”
The city has been temporarily helping Conger and his neighbors, but he tells CBS 42 they will only get one more pickup on November 20. After that, they’re on their own and cannot get a private service that provides anything but a dumpster – which does not fit on the lot.
See below for the Birmingham City Council’s meeting minutes from May 23: