SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The City of Shreveport is behind on trash pickup, according to a Solid Waste Department employee, which explains why trash is seen outside of some homes for an extended period.

Rufus Thomas, the City of Shreveport’s Chief Supervisor of Solid Waste, says it boils down to three things: lack of manpower, failed equipment and low pay.

However, he and his team have been cleaning up the city for the last three weekends. Before they began doing that, Thomas estimates it would have taken two to three months before all the trash could be picked up.

And sometimes, he said, “It’s four months.” Thomas said he understands that citizens are very upset. “You got this trash sitting in front of your house for three and four months. It’s killing their grass. Probably creating rats and roaches and everything.”

Most of the trash comes from vacant homes after people move out, he said.  

“We call certain departments to come and help us out so we can try to catch up and move some of the stuff of the street.”

Richard Johnson who’s with the Water and Sewer department said he even sent out a letter to his department expressing residents’ concerns about the trash delay.

“And let them know that the citizens are not happy; they aren’t pleased,” Johnson said.

Residents in Shreveport pay $7 a month for a garbage fee, said Thomas, adding, “They are paying a fee to keep the city clean, and we are not giving the service.”

But Johnson believes that it can be done with teamwork.

“It’s just something we need to do,” he said. He believes the city as a whole can come together and work in the different communities with each other.”

Thomas said on average, over a Saturday and Sunday , solid waste employees make between 120 and 130 stops in the city of Shreveport.