AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Tuesday, officials with the City of Amarillo Public Works Department provided an update on trash service.

Since July, the solid waste division has been operating on temporary cutbacks on residential dumpster collections, only picking up once a week.

Donny Hooper, the City of Amarillo’s public works director said in the past three months they have worked to get the solid waste division back on track.

“There are 16 things we looked at, but I bet if you looked at the entire list it’s probably more like 30. But there are 16 things we really found we could really follow a rabbit trail down and make some good use of that,” said Hooper.

Hooper said one of those things includes a pay raise for drivers.

“We were paying our CDL drivers in solid waste $16 an hour that has now been raised to $19 an hour. So quite a jump and we really think that is going to help to recruit CDL drivers and people that want to work for solid waste,” said Hooper.

Hopper added two of the newest things that solid waste is doing is keeping 23 of its roll-off containers out across the city, which were first put out during National CleanUp Day. Hooper said the public asked solid waste to keep them out.

He said the Public Works Department also has started an apprentice program.

“We have a great program we just started. It’s a CDL apprentice program. It’s basically now what we are going to allow is people, if you don’t have a CDL and you are interested in being a CDL operator, you can come to the City of Amarillo and come work for the solid waste department and we will train you on how to operate the equipment and we will train you to get your CDL so you can move up into that $19 an hour pay rate as well. It starts at $16 an hour and they can fill applications on our website,” said Hooper.

Hooper said they are also reaching out to people that used to work for solid waste to see if they want to come back to help fill those positions.

Since July, the solid waste department has hired 11 people but has had 15 separations and the solid waste department also hired five equipment operators but has separated with eight. Hooper added that the City of Amarillo as a whole since July has hired 73 people, but has had 74 separations.

Councilmember Howard Smith said he challenged the department to get back to twice-a-week pickups within the next 90 days.

“They are making every effort and that is what I want. I want them to figure out how to do it,” said Smith.

Hooper said that is the ultimate goal.

The number one goal for us is to get back to a twice-a-week collection. That is what we want to do. In the meantime, until we get there, we are trying to make sure everything we do is efficient,” said Hooper.