When Sammamish resident Robin Rodney put fish scraps in her yard waste container, she wasn’t expecting it to take nearly three weeks before they got picked up.
“It’s getting stinky,” the Timberline resident said.
Waste Management drivers, who serve the north half of Sammamish, ended their strike Aug. 1 after reaching an agreement. However, that doesn’t mean everything is back to normal.
Waste Management picked up garbage in Sammamish on its regular schedule last week, but recycling and yard waste were delayed.
Rodney said the company told her it wouldn’t be picked up until Aug. 16 — meaning it will be three weeks since her yard waste was picked up and a month since recycling.
The kicker — she said Waste Management told her that she will still have to pay for the service she did not receive. The reason lies in an old contract then unincorporated King County had with Waste Management.
According to City Administrative Services Director Mike Sauerwein, when Sammamish became incorporated in 1999 it took on the old contracts the county had with both Waste Management and Allied Waste, which serves the southern part of the city.
He said state regulation requires a city give 10 years notice that it will seek bids from another company. Sammamish gave its notice to both Waste Management and Allied Waste in 2006, which means the contracts will run through 2016.
Sauerwein said he has heard several complaints about Waste Management’s recent service.
“Our citizens have every right to be upset,” he said. “It’s not the level of service they’ve come to expect from living in the city of Sammamish or a level of service the city is happy with.”
Sauerwein said when the city seeks bids in 2016, it will look for the best options to protect its citizens, but for now, the current contract must be honored.
“It’s a private company so there’s not a whole lot we can do,” he said.
Waste Management didn’t return calls about the Sammamish situation.
“I feel bad about the strike and everything, but a month is ridiculous,” Rodney said. “At least give us a credit. It’s just not fair.”