The Harker Heights City Council heard an update on the city’s new trash pickup system at Tuesday’s workshop session.

The implementation of the new solid waste trash service began March 8. A new sanitation contract went into effect March 9, as amended by the council.

The following services are included in the contract: Solid waste collection remains twice a week per residential customer, Solid waste collection will continue the same days of the week per residential customer, Waste Management, Inc. will provide a 96-gallon poly cart for each residential customer, Automated side load garbage trucks will dispose of the trash within the 96-gallon poly carts and the Residential solid waste fee remains the same and that includes the 96-gallon poly cart.

The major change to the contract: Trash bags with solid waste, including brush and debris, will not be allowed to be placed out on the curb. All solid waste, including household garbage, leaves, grass clippings and brush must fit inside of the poly cart or taken to the Recycling Drop Center. The staff will bring other options to the Council concerning trash collection for the upcoming FY 21-22 budget.

Assistant City Manager Jerry Bark shared a report with the council summarizing the poly cart implementation. The categories included: Request for old can pickups-24, Commercial hand pickups-20, Assisted pickups-30, Broken/dirty carts-42, Additional cart requests-225, Residents not receiving a cart-98 and Requests for the 64-gallon cart-60.

Bark said, “Complaints are beginning to dwindle down and residents are figuring out how the service works and what it’s all about. We do, however, have a new item that has surfaced. and that’s the placement of the carts on the day after the carts have been emptied. The current ordinance states that the cart can only be left at curb until 11 p.m. on the day of the pickup but can be only stored where it cannot be seen from the street.”

After showing a series of slides, Bark commented that placing the cart out of sight was something that should be reconsidered.

That began a conversation that ended with the council agreeing that as long as the carts were placed tidily at the side of a house or up against the garage doors, there is no need to ask residents to store the carts inside their garages or in the backyard.

Also Tuesday, Planning and Development Director Kristina Ramirez gave an overview of the city’s updated planning and development department, as requested by the council.

Ramirez described the department’s tasks by sharing the mission statement.The mission of Planning and Development promotes quality neighborhoods, smart growth and sustainability through: collaborative planning to develop and sustain the community, maintaining development and maintenance codes that are consistent and encourage an improved quality of life, promoting timely and facilitative development reviews and inspection services and ensuring development and property maintenance codes be enforced in a fair and equitable manner.

The department consists of Planning and Mapping and Building Inspections and Code Enforcement.

The Planning and Mapping staff are: Courtney Peres-city planner, Wilson Everett-planning administrative assistant and Dan Phillips-GIS coordinator/planner.

The staff of Building Inspections and Code Enforcement includes: Michael Beard-building official, Courtney Fye-building official secretary, Eric Moore-building inspector, Calvin Fleming-code officer II, and Gabriella Palma-code officer I.

The planning and mapping division is part of development planning, long-term planning, code development, training and education, online GIS mapping, regulatory coordination of 911 and the census and the planning and zoning commission.

On the Building Inspections and Code Enforcement side of Planning and Development is permit reviews, building inspections, code development, training and education and working with the Building Standards Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Ramirez said, “There is a general building process that some may not be familiar with. The process includes: the applicant submits a permit online at mygovernmentonline.org, the building official secretary accepts and sends it out for plan review, the building official, fire marshal, planning and public works staff review it for compliance and provide comments, a permit is approved and fees are set by the building official secretary, the applicant pays and obtains the permit, site inspections are conducted, and a certificate of occupancy is issued” (if applicable).

The 20-21 Primary Ordinance Updates include: BYOB, Panhandler, Sex Offender, 2021 Building Codes, Native Vegetation, Subdivision and Sign.

Ramirez then explained the update process for the Future Land Use Map.

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