Paradise Valley Town Council passes trash ordinance amendment

Paradise Valley Town Council has approved changes to its rules on when trash and recycling can be picked up at local homes and the kinds of trucks that can provide that service within town limits.

The new rules passed by a 4 to 3 vote with Mayor Michael Collins and councilmembers Jerry Bien-Willner, David Sherf and Mark Stanton voting in the affirmative, while members Paul Dembow, Mary Hamway and Maria Syms dissented.

Stemming from a conversation brought to the town council last year, the ordinance aims to: reduce the frequency of trucks for safety; reduce wear and tear on streets; reduce noise and rates; and improve environmental sustainability, town leaders contend.

The town first discussed the trash issues at a Jan. 28 study session, followed by two other public conversations and an open house.

The Town of Paradise Valley has a free-market system offering residents the ability to choose their own trash hauler. Trash outfits providing service include Area Disposal, Greenline Waste, Republic Services and Waste Management.

According to Ordinance No. 2016-12 the town now requires:

  • Vehicles with diesel engines must be less than seven years old and in good condition and repair;
  • Vehicle fleets are required to have “operation-at-idle” and “smart back-up” technology;
  • All licensees shall provide containers free of defects and include a lid that prevents rainwater from entering the container with a fully functioning hinge;
  • Residential collection, including recyclables, will be 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays for those living south of Lincoln Drive and west of Tatum Boulevard; and 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday and Thursdays for those living north of Lincoln Drive and east of Tatum Boulevard.

The potential for a single-hauler contract emerging in the Town of Paradise Valley remains a possibility, town leaders say.

Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins lauded the effort of Vice Mayor David Sherf to bring a new approach to local rubbish removal.

“I’m so proud and honored to work with Vice Mayor Sherf who admirably took the lead on this important quality of life issue,” he said in an Oct. 28 statement.

“Dave helped lead our council through a very challenging and complicated topic that included significant public and industry outreach and dialogue. The resulting ordinance revision minimizes potential impact to existing routines for individuals while providing significant quality of life benefits for the entire community.”

Reason for change

The proposed amendment is the best way to make improvements while keeping options open for residents, according to Town Manager Kevin Burke. Through a variety of conversations, the council decided there was a better way to manage residents trash needs with the needs of safety and infrastructure.

“All these different voices generated the ordinance to be where it seemed we had the most consensus on making improvements while maintaining choice for residents,” he said during an Oct. 25 phone interview.

Mr. Burke said the community conversation the town held included many different opinions, which helped them reach a consensus.

Limiting the days of the week trash haulers are driving down residential streets reduces a number of issues.

(File photo)

(File photo)

“It essentially started with the conversation that trash trucks in the neighborhood on such a frequent basis impaired quality of life for multiple reasons,” he said. “One is they’re big trucks, that have a lot of weight and can be very scary if you’re out walking, or kids are riding their bike.”

There was also concern for safety. Trash trucks often start and stop along the road, forcing drivers to weave in and around them.

“So if you could reduce the frequency, you can improve the safety,” he said.

Changes to the trash ordinance will benefit residents in more ways than one, says Vice Mayor David Sherf.

“Residents should now enjoy more quieter days and better looking neighborhoods with trash being collected only two days per week rather than five,” he said in an Oct. 26 emailed response to questions.

Vice Mayor Sherf says through Mr. Burke’s conversations with the trash haulers, the town better understands the position it’s in.

“The Town Manager has had numerous meetings with the trash haulers to gain their insight on trash collection trends and practices throughout the country to guide us in our process,” Vice Mayor Sherf says. “Having five different haulers for our roughly 4,400 homes does not allow the best pricing for residents and is a big burden on our street maintenance.”

Trash trucks create a large impact on the asphalt, according to Mr. Burke.

“Trash trucks have the equivalent of about 1,000 vehicle trips for each trip that a trash truck makes down a residential street in terms of wear and tear,” he said. “So that obviously has an impact to the town and its maintenance responsibilities and residents cost of paying for those responsibilities.”

One trash hauler service offered within the town, Waste Management, says they are prepared to provide residents with ideal service.

“Waste Management is focused on delivering the optimal service to Paradise Valley customers and we are fully prepared to comply with the proposed changes to the town ordinance,” said Waste Management Area Communications Manager, Jennifer Rivera in an Oct. 26 emailed response to questions.

The ordinance will be requiring newer truck models.

Waste Management says its supports this part of the new ordinance.

“Paradise Valley’s effort to reduce emissions through updated diesel engine standards aligns with Waste Management’s environmental goals,” Ms. Rivera said.

The newer trucks will be required to have operation-at-idle and smart back-up alarms to reduce noise pollution.

“They have back-up alarms now — you can’t turn them off; the ‘beep, beep, beep,’ that’s a federal requirement — but what you can do, is these alarms read what the current noise level is at and then adjust the back-up alarm so that it’s not 6 a.m. and dead quiet and this thing is screaming at the same pitch as if it’s the middle of the day in rush hour traffic,” said Mr. Burke.

In order to accommodate the change, Waste Management might add one more truck to its Paradise Valley routes, but it would be a minor change, says Ms. Rivera.

News Services Editor Melissa Rosequist can be reached by e-mail at or follow her on Twitter at

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