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Owen Alarmed by City Changes to Garbage Collection

Questioning if suburban residents are being forced to sacrifice, Louisville Metro Councilman Tom Owen, D-8, criticized Mayor Greg Fischer's decision to change garbage, recycling and yard waste collection schedules in the last two weeks.Residents living in the Urban Services District began seeing alterations to their scheduled garbage collection days on Monday for cost-saving measures. The public works department eliminated the January 2 collection instead of following the traditional practice of bumping collections one day forward after holidays to save an estimated $25,000 in overtime expenses. The result is some citizens in the old city limits haven’t had their garbage collected since December 26. Owen says he is concerned residents can't follow all the cancellations and changes quickly enough to prevent garbage from piling up."The whole plan with double-barrel cancellations and route changes was ill-conceived. I understand the need for cost savings but this is just too much. Mayor Fischer should have consulted council members who represent residents who pay those extra taxes for urban services including garbage, recycling and yard waste collection," he says.Public Works officials also plan to eliminate the delayed service following the Martin Luther King Day holiday to help save an additional $25,000 in overtime.But the former council president also criticized the decision to limit the cuts to residents in the old city limits and complains that it is unfair to ask some urban resident to provide the savings through service reductions. “What skin do our suburban folks have in the game,” Owen asks. Owen also accused the city of unfairly targeting the Highlands neighborhood for reductions after reviewing past and newly introduced collections maps with Public Works Director Ted Pullen.