Lawton, Oklahoma is Changing Bulk Pickup Guidelines to Hide Failure
Long story short... the City of Lawton cut trash collection down to one day per week just over two years ago. To make up for the loss of and increased cost of this service that came with that decision, the city also announced curbside free bulk pickup each month.
As Lawton has grown increasingly 'trashy' over this time, it has haunted city hall ever since.
Who would have thought that cutting trash service would have led to there being more trash in and around town, especially in the front yards of our neighborhoods?
Eyeing our problem of growing curbside trash, instead of accepting their own stupid decisions, Lawton's City Council has doubled down with a plan to punish and fine those citizens that keep to the original agreement.
Put out your bulk pickup out too early? That'll be a $133.35 fine.
Did you include trash that wouldn't fit in your regular cut-trash collection cart? $133.35.
Is your bulk pickup 4.1 cubic yards in size? $133.35.
The new rules.
Each area of scheduled trash pickup has its own designated day for bulk pickup.
If you're in Area 1, bulk pickup is on the first Wednesday of the month. Area 2 is the second Wednesday, Area 3 the third, Area 4 the fourth, etc...
Your bulk waste cannot exceed four cubic yards, roughly 3 feet wide by 3 feet tall by 12 feet long and it must be within your yard easement behind the curb and away from mailboxes and other obstructions.
You may only put out your bulk pickup no earlier than the Sunday before your designated Wednesday, which is going to test the limits and limitations of this new $133.35 fine going into storm season.
If we get one of our famously windy storms that knock a bunch of limbs off the trees, you won't be able to set those out for pickup until the week of your bulk pickup unless you want to pay an extra $133.35 fine on your bill.
The pickup problem.
The biggest problem with bulk pickup has been actually getting bulk trash picked up. Sometimes it will sit at the curb for weeks and months to no avail. If you put your bulk trash out for pickup within the specified rule of time, but the city doesn't manage to get it picked up, are you liable for a fine due to their own failure?
I mean no disrespect to the overworked city employees that are tasked with this insurmountable job, but I also think that's a fair question. My neighbor's couch well within the four cubic yard size limit was properly set out to the curb, but it sat there for eight weeks before it disappeared.
Odds are any extenuating circumstances like a big storm event would warrant a reprieve from any punishment but with a collective perceived IQ score of 7, there's no telling what the Lawton City Council will choose to do in that situation.
Since the designated bulk pickup zone is within the public easement of your property--within ten feet behind your curb--if you were to store your bulk pickup materials eleven feet from your curb, you wouldn't be setting it out for pickup just yet, would you?
The new rules don't eliminate trash from front yards... they only seem to move it closer to the home until it can be moved to the curb.
Round of applause for our governmentally impotent city council... They've earned it.