Hobby: Garbage customers won’t see big change

Published 4:43 pm Friday, January 9, 2009

Although Bainbridge leaders are planning to cut back the city’s garbage pick-up days from two to one, City Manager Chris Hobby said he believes most customers shouldn’t see much change.

The cutback in garbage pick-ups is scheduled to start in March. After it happens, Bainbridge residents may pack their existing garbage cans fuller, but most probably won’t need a second garbage can the city will offer for an additional fee which hasn’t been decided upon, Hobby said. Residential garbage pickup will likely happen on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Solid Waste Department reports show that the majority of city residents roll out their garbage cans at the start of the week and significantly fewer do so at the end of the week, Hobby said. Still, even City Council members acknowledged the proposed change may take some getting used to.

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“I’m going to be in trouble if I forget to roll the can out now,” Mayor Mark Harrell joked.

“I’m definitely going to have a two-can house,” said Councilman Edward Reynolds, who has several school-age children with his wife.

Hobby explained that the reduction in pick-up days would also occur if the city had bid out its solid waste services out to a private company, as originally planned. By going to one day per week and transferring six garbage pickup workers to other city departments, the city’s Solid Waste enterprise fund—which cannot use taxpayer funds—will save an estimated $199,000 per year, Hobby said. That would curb the loss the fund had been experiencing and allow the city to continue its agreement to lease new garbage trucks through a financing deal with the Georgia Municipal Association.

Currently, the city operates four trucks for residential garbage pickup, two for commercial garbage pickup and four trucks for yard debris pickup, Hobby said.

According to budget figures, Bainbridge currently spends about $1.9 million per year on its garbage pickup. About $600,000 is spent on personnel, about $300,000 is spent to store garbage in the Decatur County landfill, and about $190,000 is spent maintaining and repairing the garbage trucks and about $110,000 goes toward leasing the newer trucks.

Other business

In other business, the City Council:

• Appointed, by unanimous vote, Councilman Dr. Dean Burke to serve as mayor pro tempore for 2009. As mayor pro tempore, Burke will fill in for Mayor Harrell when he is unable to attend City Council meetings or other official functions.

• Approved, by unanimous vote, the renewal of an alcoholic beverage license for Michael W. Harrell, doing business as the Charter House Inn Management Group, 1401 Tallahassee Hwy., to sell beer, wine and liquor for on-premises consumption. Mayor Harrell turned over control of the meeting to Councilman Burke and excused himself from the council chambers. Mayor Harrell is Mike Harrell’s brother.

• Recognized R.W. McDowell, an employee at the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, as the city’s Employee of the Quarter. McDowell has been employed with the city government for more than 20 years. According to a nomination letter written by city Utilities Division Director Ronnie Parish, McDowell “has extensive knowledge” of the treatment plant’s operation and “has great concern for the safety of the citizens of Bainbridge as well as his fellow employees.”

• Approved, by unanimous vote, a request from First United Methodist Church to remove five camphor trees in the right of way of Florida Street on the former Jackson property. The city’s Tree Committee normally handles such requests but forwarded the church’s request because the trees were located on city property. After a brief discussion, council members unanimously voted to clarify the city’s tree ordinance to give the Tree Committee the authority to handle similar future requests by itself.

Bids and Bills

In a unanimous vote, the council approved the following bids and bills:

Bids: $19,150 from Comnetix of Carrollton, Ga., for a digital fingerprint scanner to be used by Public Safety to send fingerprints to the Georgia Crime Information Center; $20,473.44 from UniFirst of Dothan, Ala., for second year in three-year contract to provide uniforms for city employees who wear them; $771,577 from Badger Meters of Milwaukee, Wis., for fully automated mobile meter reader system to be replace current water and gas meters as part of the city’s sewer master plan.

Bills: $6,043.50 from Georgia Municipal Association of Atlanta, Ga., for telecommunication management in 2009; $6,500 from R&M Communications of Leesburg, Ga., for work on the Bainbridge fiber optic ring; and $10,101.96 from the Genesis Group of Tallahassee, Fla., for construction documents on the Cheney Griffin Park update and consulting on the proposed skate park.