KILLEEN, Texas (FOX 44) – Killeen City Council members have approved a motion of direction for a salary increase for Solid Waste employees, amid an unusually high turnover and staff shortage.

Jeff Reynolds, Executive Director of Public Works said the solid waste employee shortage is a trend across the country, especially due to new licensing regulations by the Department of Transportation which require new Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) applicants to attend an accredited driving school in order to get a new CDL permit and/or license.

Pay for City of Killeen equipment operators would go from $15.25 – $22.87 an hour, to $17.35 – $26.03 an hour.

Pay for Solid Waste service workers would go from $14.37 – $21.55 an hour to $15.25 – $22.87 an hour. The pay raise is considered an emergency increase and is effective on the first day of the City’s next pay period.

“This pay bump will help us keep up with a competitive market and retain the quality staffing we have,” Reynolds said. “These are dedicated employees who are going above and beyond to provide residents with an essential service and we want to compensate them appropriately.”

Right now, CDL holders are in high demand throughout the country, due to the new DOT requirements.

Many companies are offering higher pay, sign-on bonuses, and other incentives for currently-licensed drivers.

Killeen has about 20 Solid Waste vacancies and their workers are averaging 12 hours a day in order to service all residential containers. Killeen’s Solid Waste Equipment Operators are collecting more than 1,200 containers a day— about 400 more than the national average.

Another option to help combat the Solid Waste shortage is to suspend curbside bulk collection for the remainder of City’s fiscal year (September 30, 2022).

The Council approved this emergency measure at the May 17 Council Workshop, along with the pay increase to help assist with the City’s turnover rates. The new process would begin the week of May 30.

Citizens would still have access to the City’s Transfer Station where they can dispose of up to 300 pounds of bulk items per month free of charge.

The curbside bulk trash suspension information will be distributed to the public through several platforms, including direct mail. Solid Waste collection is a vital service offered by the City to ensure that waste is collected and disposed of in an environmentally-sound, cost-effective, and safe manner.

For more information about the Killeen Department of Public Works’ Solid Waste division, including the Transfer Station, Recycling Center, and holiday trash collection changes, you can visit here.