Ever since Heartland Waste was sold to Republic Services, garbage collection throughout Warrensburg has been spotty at best. And I'm tired of being patient and understanding about the problem.

Sadly, the company is not living up to its core values in Warrensburg. Reliable, more like unreliable. Resourceful? If they were resourceful they'd have the problem solved by now. They'd be past the growing pains. Respectful? I can't speak to how they treat customers one to one, but their communication with customers as a whole has been lousy

I really shouldn't complain. Service on our street has been better than in some other parts of town. Yet, I'd say five or six times Republic has just blown off collecting the garbage. And the last month or so, whoever has been collecting the garbage hasn't even bothered to get the broken down boxes I've put out with the trash or bothered to check my recycling can to grab the garbage there.

I get it, recycling services have been suspended. Yet, if there are things in the can, take it. After all, you're charging me for the privilege of having the can in the first place. So yeah, just take it to the dump. Get the garbage off my street. And the boxes, how can you miss those? They're out on the curb plain as day.

That started a month ago, where they didn't empty the recycling can and didn't take the boxes. Then two weeks ago, they didn't take the garbage either. Last week, the same thing.

Rob Creighton / Townsquare Media
Rob Creighton / Townsquare Media
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At this point, the raccoon family that lives in the area has torn open multiple bags of garbage overflowing from people's garbage carts and enjoyed multiple feasts. I've had to go chasing empty broken-down boxes that have blown down the street  -- that should have been taken a month ago. There's an old furnace filter on someone's lawn. Fast food bags and other household garbage is being blown around every time it gets windy. And when it warms up to the upper 50's or lower 60's, there's that disgusting aromatic garbage stench.

And don't get me started on the food waste that has spilled on the sidewalk, the grass, or the street. I worry about my dog, or someone else's dogs eating that. I know my dog won't process it well if he eats it. And that's not even considering the trash pandas and other pests that might decide to hang around if this keeps happening.

The problems with Warrensburg's garbage have been going on for so long now, residents aren't even getting upset on Facebook groups like Review the Burg anymore. That says something in itself because let's face it, everyone likes commiserating and complaining on pages like that.

Republic Services writes on their website, "Our team of 35,000 is guided by five essential core values – to be Respectful, Responsible, Reliable, Resourceful and Relentless in all we do, every day. We are reminded of these principles every time we see the five R’s joined together to form the Republic Star. It’s what makes us who we are and sets us apart from the competition."

Rob Creighton / Townsquare Media
Rob Creighton / Townsquare Media
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Sadly, the company is not living up to their core values in Warrensburg. Reliable, more like unreliable. Resourceful? If they were resourceful they'd have the problem solved by now. They'd be past the growing pains. Respectful? I can't speak to how they treat customers one to one, but their communication with customers as a whole has been lousy. You can't let me know you can't pick my garbage up for the week? An automated message is too hard? You can't tell us how you're trying to fix the problem?

Finally, late last week I got a recorded call telling me our trash day is changing from Monday to Tuesday. Before that, the last time I heard from Republic was when Warrensburg City Manager Danielle Dulin had a couple of Republic's managers sit down with her and do a video to address the garbage issues. That was back in October.

At the time Republic cited staffing issues and employees learning new routes as the cause of the problem. I get it, we're apparently going through the great resignation. And being a trash collector is a tough job. So yeah, if there are better jobs out there, I can see some folks trying to move on to a job that's easier and not as smelly.

Except, here's the rub. Unlike the inconvenience of not finding your favorite soda pop on the shelf, or not finding the toy or tech gadget your kid wants for Christmas, this is garbage. When it's not picked up, it has the potential to create other issues. It makes neighborhoods look trashy. It can potentially create pest problems. And while the garbage carts are big. They're not big enough to hold two or three weeks' worth of trash for a lot of families.

And that's not even bringing up the fact that Warrensburg residents like myself are paying for the trash to be picked up every week. I haven't heard anything about the company giving me a rebate for the weeks my garbage wasn't picked up.

Republic Services is a national company. They operate in 41 states, have 16,000 trucks, and have 35,000 employees. The time has come if they can't properly staff their Warrensburg acquisition locally, or out of Kansas City, to bring employees and equipment to town from other places.

Or at least admit they can only pick the garbage up from residents twice a month. It's not ideal, but if Republic gives everyone another garbage cart at no charge to solve the problem of overflowing garbage carts from missed pickups, and lower the billing rate for the service. It might be an acceptable solution.

The status quo of missed pickups, poor communication, and the rest of it just makes Republic Services look bad. And as a huge company serving 41 states, they should know how to take over a company they bought with their eyes closed.

If you're having issues with your service you can reach Republic Services locally at 660-429-1040 or get in touch with them via email at heartland@republicservices.com.

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