AUSTIN (KXAN) — Large brush and bulk collection will resume in Austin in May after it stopped in February because of a staffing shortage.
“I imagine folks are ready to get started with spring cleaning projects around the house and around the yard,” Austin Resource Recovery division manager Amy Slagle said. “We’re excited to bring this service back to them.”
ARR announced in mid-April it still needs more drivers but decided in the meantime to hire contractors, so the service can start back up on May 2. ARR said COVID-19 and unfilled vacant positions led it to suspend the service temporarily on Feb. 21, so it could use those drivers to ensure trash, compost and recycling could still be picked up.
“We didn’t have enough drivers to ensure that we could collect everything that we provide across the department, so that’s why we ended up with the suspension of our services,” Slagle explained.
“Curbside customers who missed a collection during the suspension will be the first to receive bulk and large brush pick up,” ARR said in a release, adding customers will get a postcard in the mail ahead of their collection date.
People were able to take large brush to the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant at 2210 Farm to Market Road 973 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. People were also able to schedule clothing and housewares pickup online.
In April, ARR told KXAN it had 43 open driver positions, and a contractor with 10 employees is helping with the brush and bulk collection. ARR is considered “fully staffed” with 321 operations employees.
“We have large employers in Central Texas like Amazon and UPS that are recruiting drivers at a very rapid pace, and the city has had some challenges keeping up,” Slagle said.
The number of open positions improved slightly since mid-March when ARR said it had 50 vacant driver positions.
“Reinstating bulk and brush now with a contractor will allow us time to fill our vacant positions,” Slagle concluded.
ARR said its hiring both new and experienced drivers, and starting wages for both have been increased.
Anyone interested in a job can call (512) 974-1980 or apply online. An in-person job fair was held Friday, April 29 at the Kenneth Gardner Service Center (4108 Todd Ln.) from 9 to 11 a.m.