Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Best run city in the world?

A month or so ago, we got a mailing from the City of Phoenix, which bills itself as the "best run city in the world" on the basis of an award it won in 1993, telling us that our garbage and recycling pick up days would be changing. You can see that mailing here (PDF); the announcement is on the right hand side of the first page. The flyer states that pickup days will change the week of July 14, but notice that it doesn't say when or how they are changing. Instead, it says "Watch your mail for additional information." It didn't say to call in, and it didn't say to check the city's website. In fact, it says "Residents impacted by these changes will be notified through multiple mailings identifying the specific changes to their homes." That turned out to be false.

A week or so later, a second mailing came from the city. It also didn't say how the pickup days were changing, and it also said to watch for a further notification in the mail. It didn't say to call in, and it didn't say to check the city's website.

No further notification came. Everyone in my neighborhood apparently continued to put out recycling and garbage bins on the same days, and they didn't get picked up. Kat called today, and the person answering the phone for the City of Phoenix waste disposal said that they did no specific mailings, rather, they expected people to "get curious" and either look online or call them.

Well, we did indeed "get curious" as to why our garbage wasn't picked up, so I guess their expectation was valid. My initial assumption was that we had a new garbageman who didn't know my house was on his route, since I've had to call a few dozen times in the past about garbage and recycling not being picked up for that reason.

I've put out the recycling bin for pickup tomorrow--next to the full garbage bin that will be sitting out there until next week. So far, none of my neighbors have done the same.


Gridman said...

Jim, I got roughly the same thing, and was irritated that they didn't bother to tell exactly what the changes were in the initial flyers.

However, I did receive a third mailing that said they'd be swapping garbage and recycling collection dates, and a further mailing indicating that, because of the swap, I'd go over a week without garbage collection, so there was an additional garbage collection scheduled on the first Saturday to compensate.

In addition to that, a city employee went door to door the day before the first swap and reminded us of the change. (That just irritated me because I thought that it was UPS delivering our new iMac.)

Still, and I kick myself for not pulling out my phone and taking a picture, on that first day, the cans running down the street were alternating green/blue. I remember saying as I got in my car, "Plays well with other children, but cannot follow written instructions."

(Central Phoenix area, 19th & Indian School)

Jim Lippard said...

Gridman: It's nice to know that they did actually send out the specific mailing in at least some cases, let alone have somebody go door-to-door. We wouldn't have noticed the door-to-door person, most likely, though, since we keep our outside gate locked most of the time.

The alternating can colors sounds like a good photo op.

In my neighborhood we didn't have a swap, we had each pickup shift to a day earlier. Today is recycling day. I can see the road across the street from us (we have no neighbors directly on our street), and there are no blue bins out. In the development behind us, I see only one blue bin out.

(We're in South Phoenix, in "South Mountain Village")

Gridman said...

Actually, that begins to make a little more sense to me.

I was pondering the waste of sending out 4 mailers when 1 or 2 should have done, and I wasn't exactly seeing the benefit of just "swapping" Tuesday and Friday's collections.

I suppose that the idea was to have ever-increasingly specific mailings for the neighborhoods impacted with their specific changes. Perhaps they just ran out of money? :-)

Now I wonder if my neighbors who didn't seem to get the message really didn't get the flyers and I was just judging them a little too harshly.

Kat Lippard said...

I asked my mother, who lives at 47th Avenue & Peoria, if they were notified, or had any changes. She said there was no change in their pick up schedule and that they had received a letter telling them so. I saw 2 blue bins out this morning in our neighborhood, then a few more when I went home at lunch. I think the City of Phoenix just doesn't care about South Phoenix...