Lake Saint Louis residents may want to watch for a postcard from the city, rather than just tossing it in the trash.
On July 2, the Lake Saint Louis Board of Aldermen agreed to mail a postcard to city residents asking them to fill out an online trash service survey. The postcard is in response to complaints and concerns about Meridian Waste Solutions. In January, the city approved a three-year contract with Meridian that went into effect in March. Now, it seems, the honeymoon is over.
Mayor Kathy Schweikert, aldermen and city staff shared at a board work session on June 18 that they were hearing widespread complaints about the trash hauler from city residents. City Administrator Paul Markworth suggested the idea of a survey to gather resident feedback on the quality of trash service. That discussion was more detailed at the board’s July 2 work session.
George Ertle, the assistant city administrator, outlined some of the reports he has begun to receive from Meridian along with how a survey could be conducted. One of the simplest and cheapest options for the city is to send out a postcard asking residents to respond online to a survey on the city’s website or have surveys available at city hall. The cost would be about $2,300. Including a stamped survey that residents could mail in would raise that cost by about $1,000.
Ertle added that the survey will provide antidotal information that may give “a pulse of the community” on the issue. The feedback would be from people who are very happy or not very happy with the service they are receiving, he said.
A more statistically-oriented response to the survey would require about 3,875 responses and would provide a plus or minus five percent measurement opinion, he said.
Schweikert said the response she has gotten from residents about Meridian has been spotty. “Some people say it’s horrible, some say it’s great,” she said.
The company’s customer service has been lacking at times, she said. One resident said she was on hold for 58 minutes when she called the company. Markworth said the city’s contract with Meridian stipulates customers should typically not be on hold for more than two minutes and not longer than five minutes.
The board agreed with putting out a survey but set no time when it would be available. Any move toward replacing the company would be difficult, Schweikert said.