FLORISSANT, Mo. — Joshua Lenhardt of Florissant is looking forward to the day when a Meridian Waste truck does not come pick up his trash and recycling.
That's because he says the company's drivers are not dependable and often skip entire streets and neighborhoods.
"It was getting crazy. I was calling Meridian so much, they knew who I was over the phone by name before they even asked," he said.
And Lenhardt's not the only one who feels this way.
5 On Your Side dug up old city council minutes that make it clear Florissant leaders have been dealing with Meridian Waste issues for months.
In December 2018, council members vented to a Meridian representative about their frustration over what they described as "out of control" problems and "poor service."
Much of the angst was tied to paying customers who said Meridian never picked up their trash.
The company representative suggested the breakdown in service might have something to do with new corporate management.
He added that Meridian recently added new trucks to help in pick-up delays.
But things don't seem to have gotten any better in recent weeks and months.
Florissant has decided to terminate its long relationship and contract with Meridian three months early, much to the delight of upset neighbors like Lenhardt.
"Let them go, bring in a better company that's willing to work with the customers," he said.
For those customers who've already paid their bill before June 30 for the next three months, they are eligible for a refund from Meridian. You can read more about that from the company's website here.
Meantime, the city's new garbage services provider, Gateway Disposal, begins July 1.
City officials said there will be no change in cost or scheduling.
It's a somewhat similar situation to what's going on in Wildwood, which has also been unhappy with Meridian's performance.
"There were several things going on, but it largely amounted to missed pick-ups for the residents," said Mayor Jim Bowlin.
Bowlin said complaints in his city tied to Meridian topped 800 in the first six months of 2019. Compare that to just 412 in all of 2018.
It's why the city recently decided to also kick Meridian to the curb, ending a years-long contract.
Instead, Wildwood will be going with Waste Connections effective August 1. Customers' scheduled pick-up days will remain the same, but their bills will be going down.
Wildwood will also be reverting back to single-stream recycling under the new arrangement.
Bowlin said, "It is a significant thing to do and ultimately this wasn't a decision that was made without significant thought."
He said Wildwood designated staff to solely deal with Meridian related complaints and gave the company repeated opportunities to improve.
He said their failure to do that left them with no choice but to go in a new direction.
"We have to do what's right for our residents and that's what we've done here," Bowlin said.
It's unclear if Wildwood or Florissant will be going after Meridian for damages related to repeated contract violations.
Meridian previously told 5 On Your Side they've made a number of internal management changes to try and address ongoing service issues.
In a statement, a spokeswoman said:
"Meridian Waste is disappointed that the decade-long relationship with our Wildwood customers is ending in the near future. We work diligently to be a community resource for our customers and the communities we serve. We are always looking to improve our service and make changes to benefit the environment and the customers’ experience. We encourage those with service issues to reach out to us directly so we may address any problems."
The changes in Wildwood and Florissant follow weeks of reporting by 5 On Your Side on similar issues in St. Charles County and unincorporated St. Louis County.
St. Louis County is even seeking to recoup $30,000 in damages from Meridian for contract violations and poor performance tied to missed pick-ups and hundreds of customer complaints.