Citizens weigh in on garbage pickup

Published 4:47 pm Friday, January 23, 2009

A few citizens spoke out this week against the City of Bainbridge’s plan to reduce the number of times it picks up garbage, an idea still being discussed by city leaders.

At the Bainbridge City Council’s Tuesday meeting, two citizens said they opposed the idea of having only one pickup day instead of two, while another questioned the financial factors behind the idea.

Citizen Jerome Lewis said he has a family of four who generate enough trash to roll out a garbage can twice a week. He said he believed options to buy or lease a second garbage can after the proposed one-day pickup begins would be too expensive for some.

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“You’ll see trash stay in houses or packed up in bags in people’s yards,” Lewis said. “Me personally, I can’t afford another can.”

Citizen Barbara Rasmussen said she and her husband also roll out their garbage can two days a week and would not be interested in paying more for another can if the change occurs.

“It would be a hardship,” she said.

Citizen Ted Snell questioned whether the $159,000 savings City Manager Chris Hobby’s claim that the city’s Solid Waste enterprise fund would gain by moving six Solid Waste Department employees to other city departments would be a true savings.

Hobby said the employees would be moved into positions included in other departments’ budgets that are currently not filled.

City Councilman Greg Waddell asked Hobby if he had received any feedback on the option of keeping two days of trash pickup but charging every customer an extra $5 to cover the increased expense of the service.

Hobby said he had not.

However, he and Mayor Mark Harrell both noted their belief that giving customers the option of paying $5 for extra garbage would be fairer than charging all customers $5 for two pickups when the majority of customers don’t roll out their cans twice a week.

Costs, pickup days discussed

Hobby, who had proposed a reduction in trash pickups at the council’s Jan. 6 meeting, provided more details about what options customers would have.

Currently, Bainbridge residential garbage customers pay $20.13 a month for the service. If the proposed reduction takes place on March 2, customers with large garbage volume could buy their own garbage 90-gallon can at the city’s cost of $51.98, or pay an additional $5 a month for a second 90-gallon can. If the customer buys the can outright, they would be responsible for repairing or replacing it if it were damaged, unless city employees or equipment were at fault, Hobby explained.

Small commercial customers would also be moved to once-a-week pickup. They currently pay $40.26 for multiple 90-gallon cans. Beginning in March, they would be given the option of paying $46.10 per month for a four-yard dumpster container, which would hold the equivalent of about four 90-gallon cans, Hobby said.

While originally the idea was to keep Monday and Tuesday as trash pickup days, Mayor Harrell suggested Tuesday and Wednesday, to avoid conflicts with holidays observed on Mondays. In the event a holiday did fall on a trash day, pickup would just be moved to the next day of the week.

Public Works Director Tommy King said more study was needed between now and March before the trash pickup schedule could be finalized. He said residents would be notified ahead of the change as to when their trash would be picked up.

Hobby said he believed one advantage of the reduction in trash pickup days is that city workers would have more time to focus on picking up yard debris.

Citizens will have another chance to voice their opinions on moving to once-a-week trash pickup at the City Council’s Feb. 3 meeting. They can also call City Hall at 248-2000, e-mail Mayor Harrell at or call their council member.

Bids and Bills

By unanimous vote, the council approved the following bids and bills:

Bills: $5,771.25 from Georgia Municipal Association of Atlanta, Ga., for workers compensation fund reimbursement; $37,014.25 from Decatur County Commissioners of Bainbridge for inmate housing and landfill; three invoices of $15,000, $12,120 and $8,500 from York & Associates Engineering of Bainbridge for construction plans and technical specifications on Alice Street sewer project, professional services on phase II of the city’s sewer master plan and professional services on the extension of water and sewer service to Bainbridge High School, respectively.

Bids: $162,274 from Southeastern United States Insurance Company of Atlanta for annual premium for the city’s workers’ compensation self-insurance; $3,412.24 from DGG Taser of Jacksonville, Ga., for two X-26 Taser weapons and related supplies; $6,356.25 from South Ga. Sports, $2,832.50 from A.D. Starr of Pittsburgh, Pa., and $3,026.70 from The Sport Group of Jenkintown, Pa., all for supplies for the city’s baseball and softball recreation leagues; $25,650 from Mike Harrell (not the Mike Harrell who is CEO of Southwest Georgia Oil) of Bainbridge for construction of a steel and concrete building to house a new ladder fire truck for Public Safety.