TULSA - Tulsa city crews may be spending a lot of time doing free work for unscrupulous contractors, all on the taxpayer's dime.
Debris cleanup from last month's huge windstorm is far from over, and has already taken much longer than originally estimated.
Todd Rickert of Rickert Landscaping and Tree Service tells KRMG part of the problem is that many private contractors take money from residents to clean up their debris, then simply cut it up and leave it at the curb for city crews to remove.
"Not only is the city picking up residential tree debris, they're picking up contractor tree debris," he told KRMG.
"They're picking up a 30-yard pile from a contractor compared to a 3-yard pile from an individual homeowner -- the difference would be that they would have had this project done already."
The tree waste is measured in cubic yards.
He says city crews also don't have all the equipment private contractors use for such large-scale removal of green waste.
"They're not necessarily using the same equipment that a landscaper or a tree company would use."
Rickert says tree services aren't regulated by the city, meaning many of them operate without proper insurance or bonding.
They also don't have to worry about losing their license to operate when they take advantage of the city's green waste program.
Rickert has a plan to privatize the green waste system, which he believes would save taxpayers a great deal of money.
But despite presenting that plan to city councilors, the mayor, and former mayor Kathy Taylor, he's had no response.