Missing mail could cause issues with new waste system

Neenah residents who mailed out postcards with their bin size preferences September 4, 2018, may not get what they asked for. (WLUK)

NEENAH, Wis. (WLUK) -- Missing mail in the Neenah-Menasha area earlier this month could soon become an even bigger problem involving the city of Neenah’s new automated waste system.

The city decided earlier this year to switch to automated refuse and recycling collection, and residents had a chance to pick their cart sizes.

“They’re the taxpayers, they’re the ones who ended up paying for these in the first place, but because of this unfortunate timing of the mail missing, some people might not get what they ordered,” said Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert.

Owners had to mail out the postcards, choosing one of three different sizes before Sept. 14.

The problem? It appears what was mailed out on the Sept. 4 through the U.S. Postal Service never reached its final destination.

That means people who sent out their postcards on that day may be in for a surprise.

“A lot of people had sent them back around that time period, and we didn’t receive them,” Kaufert said. “We don’t know what size they want, so they’re going to get a default size, which is going to be the 95-gallon can.”

The city of Neenah said hundreds of postcards are nowhere to be seen, but can’t say whether it’s because of the missing mail issue or simply because those residents chose not to fill out the survey card.

Either way, for those who do receive the incorrect cart, the city will allow a one-time exchange, free of charge, which could be costly for Neenah.

“We’re going to have to send a crew out with people to get them the right cart, send a truck out, pick up the old one, bring in the new one, which has labor costs implications to the city of Neenah,” Kaufert said.

While this could end up being a public works nightmare, the department is optimistic.

“From an overall numbers standpoint, I don’t see it being a terrible load for us to take on,” director of the Department of Public Works Gerry Kaiser said.

Carts are expected to be delivered in mid October. Residents who don’t get what they asked for should contact the city.

In a statement earlier this month, the USPS Corporate Communication Center in Ill., handling this region said they are aware of the issue and are looking into it.

Monday, officials there said the Postal Service is still researching the situation.

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