Streets Department looking to end Philly's trash pick-up problems

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There is an end in sight for trash pick-up troubles in Philadelphia. (WPVI)

There is an end in sight for trash pick-up troubles in Philadelphia.

City trash trucks were in the repair shop Wednesday, soon to be back out on the streets.

But the city's fleet of trash compactors is at a record low level, more than 80 below the 327 needed to keep up the targeted 97% on-time collection rate.

The Streets Department confirms that the fleet is down 25% over the last 2 years dropping on-time collections citywide to 85%.

Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz is trashing the Streets Department.

"They've neglected this problem. The result is we are wasting money on overtime. People are working 10 hour days and the workers don't even want the overtime. The city has a reputation as being a dirty city. Residents are not getting their trash picked up in a timely way," Butkovitz said.

The Streets Department blames the recession and two bad winters in a row where compactors are used for snow removal.

The Streets Department says the fleet will be up and over the required number by mid-summer with the delivery of 30 newly purchased trucks and 20 leased ones.

"We take our on-time collection rate very seriously. We hope to be back to our 97% on-time collection rate by mid-summer," Streets Commissioner David Perri said.

The overtime bill to try to keep up with collections will be reduced now and a second collection shift will now be added

"We'll have enough vehicles to maintain our 97% collection rate and we'll have enough money in the budget to replace vehicles before they break down and cause us additional problems in the future," Perri said.

An estimated 80,000 homes have been affected by the depleted fleet.

City Hall claims it will all be straightened out within the next three months.
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