Talking trash: Paradise Valley Town Council to amend rubbish ordinance

Paradise Valley Town Manager leads the April 14 community conversation on trash services within town limits. (Independent Newsmedia/Terrance Thornton)

Paradise Valley Town Manager leads a community conversation on trash services within town limits last April. (File photo)

The Town of Paradise Valley is steps away from signing and adopting an ordinance to amend its sanitation and trash regulations.

The new ordinance to be discussed at the Thursday, Oct. 27 town council meeting, may alter the days of the week that residents get their trash and recycling picked up, as the town looks to minimize the amount of trucks driving on public arterials.

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.

In an effort to increase the quality of life for its residents, 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 the draft ordinance proposal the town will begin requiring:

  • Vehicles to be in good condition and repair;
  • Vehicle fleets are required to have “operation-at-idle” and “smart back up” technology;
  • Vehicles with diesel engines will be regulated on how old they can be;
  • 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 will be 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday and Thursdays for those living north of Lincoln Drive and east of Tatum Boulevard.

If approved, the ordinance will take effect Feb. 1, 2017.

Reason for change

The proposed amendment is the best way to make improvements while keeping choices for its 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.

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

“It essentially started with the conversation that trash trucks in the neighborhood are 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, kids are riding their bike.”

Secondly, when cars are trying to weave around the trucks that often are stopping and starting on small roads, the safety concerns increase.

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

In addition, the ordinance will be requiring newer truck models. The town council will decide between requiring vehicles with diesel engines to be no older than 2010 nor older than seven years; or no older than 10 years old.

This requirement is one Waste Management says they are on board with.

“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 their Paradise Valley routes, but it would be a minor change, says Ms. Rivera.

The Paradise Valley Town Council meeting will begin at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

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

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