The Town of Newfane has been taking measures to respond to complaints made over the past several months regarding refuse collection by Modern Disposal Services.
In the town’s August newsletter, Newfane Supervisor John Syracuse wrote that the town officials were aware of complaints made by residents about missed or incomplete garbage pickup, broken totes and trash strewn around yards. In the same newsletter, Syracuse also clarified some of the frequently asked questions on refuse collection as well.
“Some of these complaints have been continual,” he said. “Since I’ve been in the administration, we’ve been logging them, and trying to determine the ultimate cause of some of them.”
While the town was able to determine the causes of some of these issues like parked cars obstructing garbage collection, Syracuse went on a ride-along with a representative from Modern to determine how some of the other problems might be occurring. Syracuse said that during the ride-along, they found that several locations in the town didn’t have current information reflected in Modern’s index.
“It drilled down to Modern just having different names and addresses for certain properties,” he said. “They had an address off of Route 18 as Lake Road, but they could never find Lake Road because it was labeled as Fire Lane E back to Outing Park. Now they’re aware of that, so they’re going to make that correction to their records.”
Another issue Syracuse pointed out was how Maple Avenue had split services, where only half of the street would have its waste collected on one day, and the other half would get collected on another day. He said Modern was also rectifying this as well.
Modern Vice President Julie Berrigan acknowledged the complaints from Newfane in a statement sent to the Lockport Journal, and indicated that many of the problems with refuse collection are being solved now that the problems have been identified.
“We acknowledge that a few residents felt there were glitches in recent collections, and we’ve moved quickly to adjust and successfully remedy those issues,” Berrigan stated. “Any calls the town has received from residents for servicing have reduced drastically. Modern is dedicated to a thorough collection effort and will make any necessary adjustments to consistently meet our own high standards.”
Several other municipal leaders in the area who also contract their refuse collection with Modern have said that most of the complaints they’ve received were earlier this year, and brought on by the labor shortage. Wilson Supervisor Doyle Phillips mentioned that a large amount of complaints were received six months ago. During this period, experienced workers were leaving Modern, and the newer ones were still learning the routes, but since then things have improved.
Hartland Supervisor Ross Annable said that while there might be occasional issues with refuse pickup such as postponed collections, no major complaints have been reported there. He even said that sometimes six months can go by without receiving a single complaint.
Paul Oats, the Lockport City Clerk said that some issues that lead to complaints within the City may even be as a result of an inattentive customer.
“City residents can place one large item at the curb, once per month during bulk week,” Oats said. “If six bulk items are put out, the resident will call to complain that Modern didn’t pick up. Or, a recycling cart has garbage in it. Or, an old TV is placed at the curb instead of being taken to one of the city’s electronic waste events, and is not picked up. All of these can also generate unwarranted complaints.”
Oats also pointed out that brochures detailing Modern’s schedule and guidelines can be found at the City Clerk’s Office, and that general information on refuse collection can be found on the “refuse and recycling” tab on the City website.
Most municipality websites have sections where refuse collection policies are clarified, if one needs to find something out, before they throw something out.