AMHERST, NY (WKBW) — Three weeks past, a list of emails sent to Amherst Town Hall and no sign of a pickup any time soon. Jeremy and Kristen Finn said this has been an ongoing issue and there has been no transparency.
"It'd be fine if they just let us know when they're coming or if they're coming,” Kristen said. “Instead, they used to come every week and now no one knows when they're coming."
This service is paid for by tax dollars, frustrating neighbors, like the Finns, who said they pay too much to have the service fall through.
And they said when it rains, the bags fall apart, leaving everything that was once cleaned and ready to be picked up a soggy mess.
"The people who pick up the stuff are going to say, ‘that’s not our job to clean up their lawn,’" Jeremy said.
Modern Disposal, the company contracted by the town, said it has never seen this volume of yard waste, averaging seven to ten bags per home, causing the trucks to fill up quicker, ultimately delaying service.
“Modern is committed to servicing our customers and continues to pick up yard waste for our Amherst residents as rapidly as possible. The primary challenge has been a significant increase in yard waste volume,” said CEO Michael P. McInerney. “Warmer weather naturally inspires homeowners to clean their properties, and we are working diligently to get all areas serviced. We apologize for any inconvenience residents are experiencing.”
A rainy spring generated more grass growth, and therefore clippings, in the town. The COVID-19 pandemic also likely postponed more in-depth yard work the last two years, with a flood of older debris now reaching town curbs.
And Amherst Town Supervisor, Brian Kulpa, said Modern Disposal has had a few waves of COVID ripple through their work force in early spring.
"They just weren't able to get over the hump,” Kulpa said. “So, we've been keeping pressure on them."
Modern Disposal is increasing crew and service in the following ways:
- Extra trucks and crews from other operations to ensure service.
- Running trucks six days/week to help collect the increased yard waste.
Additional crews will be added as necessary to manage the increased
volume; Modern typically runs 5 trucks/5 days/week to service Amherst. This week we are running 8 trucks and are working to 10 trucks. Modern is working closely with the town to have all routes cleaned up and back on schedule after close of business Saturday, June 11.
- A crew of 30+ team members worked Memorial Day, resulting in more than 100 tons of yard waste collected in one day.
Kulpa said the town is lending a helping hand as well.
"We've done something we haven't done in 16 years,” Kulpa said. “Which is resume some our yard waste pick up, that as no small act."
“I’m doing what they told me to do. I’m putting it in the trash, I’m buying the bags, I’m putting it in the street,” Kristen said. “Where's your part?"
Modern encourages residents to leave their yard waste at the curb if their day of collection passes, so crews can see it as they service the various streets and neighborhoods. Modern will continue to operate six days/week to handle the increased volume, and service dates may be pushed forward temporarily, officials said.