Robbinsdale homeowners fed up that yard bags haven’t been picked up in weeks

Yard waste is piling up on streets and alleys in Robbinsdale, and residents are wondering when it’ll be picked up.

The yard bags in Michael Squires' front yard bear the signs of several rainstorms.

"At this juncture, I just want to get rid of them," Squires told FOX 9. "It's very frustrating. My grass is dying underneath."

The branches and leaves inside are from mid-April. Since then, he's chucked the bags back and forth from his house to the curb five or six times, hoping they would be collected.

The mayor feels his residents' pain, as he watches his own bags sit by the curb.

"The residents of Robbinsdale feel like Charlie Brown dealing with Lucy, and this is just one more case this last weekend of their frustration," said Robbinsdale Mayor Bill Blonigan.

Robbinsdale has contracted with the company Waste Management for 40 years. Homes are supposed to get yard waste picked up every week in the summer months, but some neighborhoods haven’t had their yard bags picked up for two or three weeks now. Other homeowners, like Squires, haven’t had their leaves and branches been picked up at all this season.

The city sent postcards telling homeowners to put out their yard bags Saturday because Waste Management would finally pick them up after weeks of delays, but that never happened.

"It's terrible. It is just something that a big national organization needs to be able to navigate," Blonigan said. "For them to come to a meeting and say ‘for sure, next Saturday, and here's some postcards. Everybody, we're going to be there,’ and then not even tell us on Friday night or Saturday morning or Saturday at 3 (p.m.) that they can't get any of this work done, that's just not right."

Blonigan said Waste Management has told the city the lack of drivers is to blame and that the company is continuing to look for people with commercial drivers' licenses. But city leaders don’t think that’s an excuse.

"I would like them to live up to their contract. I don't know if I can expect that at this point," the mayor said.

The City Council is exploring other options right now, including gathering a group of cities and hiring their own crews, or having city employees pick up yard waste.

In the meantime, the city is offering a yard waste drop site at 4601 Toledo Ave North on Tuesday and Thursday this week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. But Blonigan recognizes that might not be an option for everyone.

"I'm a little worried to put (the yard bags) in my car. I'll probably go to take them out and have yard waste all over the back of our minivan," Squires said. "So it's an option. It's not a good option."

Squires said the most frustrating part is the lack of answers or timeline.

"Give me a day but if you give me a day, follow through and make sure that you're actually going to do what you said you were going to do," he said.

The city said Waste Management brought in drivers from as far away as Milwaukee to help with recycling routes. But residents told Fox 9 their recycling pick-up has been inconsistent, and there have even been some days of missed trash pickup.

FOX 9 reached out to Waste Management this afternoon for comment but did not hear back.