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North Las Vegas making weekly garbage and recycling service permanent

A pilot recycling program that features weekly recycling and garbage service will become permanent in North Las Vegas.

The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved making the program permanent and working toward full implementation in the city by December 2013.

The vote came after North Las Vegas residents who are not enrolled in the pilot program received robo-calls Wednesday from an unknown source saying the city would be cutting their garbage services in half. The calls then automatically forwarded to city offices, which took hundreds of them, said Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth, assistant to the city manager.

City officials assured residents they would be notified before any change was made.

"We will be doing much more outreach," Bailey-Hedgepeth said.

A new survey presented to the council showed a majority of North Las Vegans enrolled in the pilot recycling program prefer the schedule to the traditional twice-weekly garbage service.

Nearly 67 percent of respondents said they prefer the pilot program’s schedule, compared with 5 percent who said they would like to go back to the traditional service schedule. Nearly 28 percent said they would prefer the traditional schedule if it also included recycling service every other week.

The telephone survey of 603 people enrolled in the program was completed in November by UNLV’s Cannon Survey Center and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Bob Coyle, area president for Republic Services, has said the best option is once-a-week pickup of garbage and recyclable waste.

The company proposed the method for its regional service area several years ago and stirred a outcry from people who did not want to give up their twice-a-week trash pickup.

Many worried that garbage would stink if left to rot in the summer heat for a week.

In response, the company created a pilot program to gauge whether residents would change their minds about once-a-week recycling and garbage service after they had experienced it for a while. About 60,000 households in North Las Vegas are now on the program, city officials said.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said they had not noticed odor problems with trash and recycling carts under the program, while nearly 36 percent said they had.

Nearly 97 percent of respondents said recycling is important.

Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at lcurtis@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0285.

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