The City of Burton will remain with its current trash provider, at least for the near future. 

After a city council meeting Tuesday that had over an hour of discussion and a split vote, councilmembers decided to keep the city’s service with Texas Commercial Waste.  The city’s contract with the company expires in March 2025.

The meeting was prompted by the council’s unanimous vote on February 13th to proceed with terminating the contract with Texas Commercial Waste, but ultimately the council and company representatives vowed on Tuesday to work on better communication with each other and attempt to rectify complaints from residents and businesses.

Several citizens were in attendance at the public hearing held prior to the council’s action, though only two people offered comments.  Lindsay Bubert, a resident, talked about how she often notices a trail of trash and “juices” left behind by garbage trucks after their stops.  Cathy Liles, the owner of Burton Short Stop, said the company’s pickup days of Tuesday and Thursday are difficult to work with for her business, as her dumpster collects a lot of trash over the weekend and is usually exceedingly full by the time Tuesday rolls around.  

Some other concerns mentioned previously included the deteriorating condition of commercial dumpsters around town and some dumpsters not being properly secured, contributing to the city’s vulture problem.  Mayor Karen Buck called them “giant bird feeders.”

Texas Commercial Waste General Manager Ron Schmidt discussed the company’s priority of picking up residential trash before commercial stops, noting that if their trucks get full from picking up trash in Burton and Carmine, they have to come back later.  He said over the life of the company’s contract with Burton, dating back to March 1998, it has replaced every container in Burton on three different occasions.  He also stated that some of the dumpsters had their lids deliberately taken off by their owners, with no involvement from the company.  He said the company has done its best to answer all the complaints it can.

At the end of the hearing, the council took a vote on whether to rule that the company had failed to perform and invoke the contract’s non-compliance clause.  The vote was 1-3, with Paul McLaughlin voting yea and Jeff Eckhardt, Nathan Kalkhake and Macey Tidwell voting nay.  Tommie Gilmon abstained. 

Eckhardt and Gilmon said they have not personally had issues with the company, but Eckhardt said he is concerned for the people who have.  He said he hopes this hearing can serve as a “wake-up call” for the problems that have been brought up, and is hesitant to undo the contract without exploring “a heightened response” from the city to better address any future complications.  

McLaughlin said he concurred with the “juice” problem mentioned earlier, calling it unsightly and a health concern, and that it is something that has been addressed but not corrected. 

Through discussion, the council asked Texas Commercial Waste to do a better job of providing notice sooner when it has to leave behind stops in order to unload its trucks, consider offering a greater availability or different schedule of pickup days, and look at doing all stops in Burton first before moving on to Carmine.  Schmidt said he is agreeable within reason to a variety of solutions. 

Should the council later decide that it wishes to move on from Texas Commercial Waste at the end of the current contract, it must provide 90 days’ notice of the city’s intent to not renew.

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