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Gettysburg Borough expresses trash frustrations to WM

Members of the Gettysburg Borough Council told representatives of its trash removal contractor WM on Monday evening that the company was not fulfilling its contract with the borough and that they were considering moving on with a new bid for services.

The borough said WM had failed to provide receptacles in a timely manner, had failed on many occasions to pick up trash in public spaces and at residential addresses, and had not communicated with the borough and residents in a timely and accurate manner.

“We’re told things and then they don’t occur,” said Council President Wes Heyser.

Although the WM contract requires they be emptied on a daily basis (excluding Sundays), Heyser showed photos indicating that the receptacles around Lincoln Square had not been emptied on many dates and board member Chad-Alan Carr said receptacles in the square sometimes sat for five days without being emptied.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve been lied to,” said Heyser. “We sell a tourism product. If we as a government fail to hold you accountable to this contract what we are really doing is shortchanging our residents and all of our business owners.”

Heyser said the borough was frustrated due to the amount of time staff had spent dealing with the issues and that the problems did not seem to be going away.

Carr and council member Judie Butterfield both said many residents had given up calling WM because of extended hold times and disconnections.

Moon said the problems have been consistent.  “This has been a difficult relationship since before the jumping off point ” he said.

WM said they had been hampered because the initial list of households they received from the borough was incomplete, but acknowledged some difficulties, saying they had had some customer service failures and were attempting to rectify them.

WM said they were having supply chain issues and staffing issues due to Covid and that some drivers might not be familiar with the area. 

“We acknowledge there have been some missed pickups, especially in the beginning due to residents not having their accounts set up,” said a WM representative.

Board member Matt Moon said the staff had spent an “absurd” number of hours trying to get the situation resolved and that they borough was still not seeing the contract met.

WM Asked for an opportunity to correct the issues and said they were “in a position to do better.”

“If you folks can wrap this up in a way that it is restored to what it should be, that is the best possible outcome,” said Heyser. “If you’re unable to do so we’re going to move on.”

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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