Wilmington audit reveals wasteful trash collection spending

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Garbage truck (

For years, nearly 100 Wilmington businesses and nonprofits had their trash picked up for free, costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Following an internal review of approximately 20,000 trash and recycling collection accounts, city leaders discovered at least 97 of those businesses are commercial accounts. 

According to the Wilmington City Code, all commercial accounts, including nonprofits, are required to contract with a private hauler. 

Mayor Mike Purzycki said the 97 account holders have been notified about the change. They have until January 1, 2018 to obtain private commercial collection service. The accounts that will end next year are a mix of public and private schools, community centers, churches, apartment buildings, and daycare facilities.

“There’s certainly no evidence that this was any kind of corruption or even political, capital P, politics,” said Mayor Purzycki, who pointed out the accounts had been added to the city’s collection routes over the past 20 to 30 years. “It was pretty much, I think, people just thinking they do a nice turn for somebody, and I don’t think anybody fully appreciated how much money was involved.”

By eliminating the 97 accounts, Purzycki said the city will save approximately $200,000 a year.

“Our intent is not to cause any hardships, but Wilmington’s Charter and Code are very clear in that City government collects trash and recyclables from residential properties only,” Purzycki said. “The accounts that will end on January 1 are being advised to seek a reputable and licensed commercial trash hauler to service their facilities.”

More unauthorized commercial properties are expected to be identified in the future.

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