Duncanville City Council Invites Community Input at Meetings

Garbage truck
Republic Services of Texas

Duncanville City Council meetings are open to the public, and recent meetings have drawn advocates for several issues to speak at the meetings. Along with the Ladd property discussions we recently discussed in this newspaper, another topic that has garnered interest among Duncanville residents is whether to change garbage bin and trash pickup services.

In 2019, the City entered into a seven-year contract for solid waste disposal with Republic Services of Texas. Rates for trash pickup had not been adjusted in 20 years. Some citizens were unhappy with the rate increases (from $17.18 to $21.68 for curbside pickup, and from $22.77 to $27.77 for alley pickup). Some residents also complained about the company’s recent decision to stop recycling glass products.

Duncanville City Manager

City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides said, “The council directed us to conduct a trash survey to clarify the trash service desires of our residents. Public Works Director Greg Ramey is the lead, and he is collecting responses to a trash survey. The staff will present the results from the survey to the Council during the briefing session of the January 18, 2022 City Council meeting.”

Other issues brought up by residents attending Duncanville City Council meetings included redistricting. Plan A for Duncanville’s newly drawn district maps was unanimously approved in draft form at the Dec. 7 City Council meeting. The law firm consulted on the issue, Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP, provided four drafts of district maps for their consideration. The council voted to choose Plan A since it affects the least people in the five council districts. The Plan A redistricting map affects 213 voting age people. Plan B would have affected almost 600 people, while other plans affected over 1000.

All cities with single-member city council districts, which adhere to the principal of one person one vote, must engage in “redistricting” every ten years. The redistricting follows a Federal Census, and is meant to ensure that all voting districts have roughly equal populations. Duncanville experienced a population growth from 38,751 ten years ago to 40,745 in the 2020 Census. Thus, redistricting was mandated by law.

Census Report Delayed by Pandemic

A few citizens made comments at the Dec. 7 meeting asking for more time to study the changes. Attorney Joshua Katz with the city’s law firm said the council wasn’t given as much time to consider redistricting this year. The shorter timeline was primarily because the census was delayed by COVID. The pandemic prevented the customary, more intensive follow-up visits to homes that hadn’t completed or mailed in their census forms for 2020.

The census report wasn’t finalized until Sept., months later than usual. Because Duncanville will hold City Council elections for some districts next May, a timely decision on redistricting allows potential candidates to define their correct district. Filing for candidates opens in January, and early voting starts in April. The council’s approval of Plan A was finalized at the Dec. 21 meeting.

The Duncanville City Council meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at City Hall, 203 E. Wheatland Road. The council meeting scheduled for Jan. 4 has been rescheduled for Thurs., Jan. 6, 2022. For more information, visit Duncanville.com.