City to study more garbage changes

Published 7:23 pm Friday, January 23, 2009

With the City of Bainbridge planning to reduce its trash pickup days to save money, the officials who oversee garbage collection are also thinking about ways to make it more efficient for both customers and the workers who pick it up.

During a presentation to the Bainbridge City Council on Tuesday, Public Works Director Tommy King said 12,900 tons of residential and commercial garbage were taken to the Decatur County Landfill last year.

Approximately 2,954 tons of residential trash, mostly mulch, were taken to the city’s old landfill off Avenue C. Sixty-two 90-gallon garbage cans and 128 dumpsters were replaced. The city uses four garbage trucks equipped with Rapid Rail automated systems that pick up garbage cans and dumpsters without the driver having to exit the truck.

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Currently, the city’s 16 Solid Waste employees devote four days out of the work week to picking up residential and commercial garbage. One day a week is set aside for pickup of yard debris, which must be manually collected and stored on a truck. If the city decides to reduce customers’ pickup days from two to one, using a labor force of 10 employees, more time could be spent on pickup of yard debris, City Manager Chris Hobby said.

At the council meeting, King discussed the possibility of doing away with the city’s “Free Trash Pickup Day,” and instead doing free special pickups year-round.

Currently, people with large items such as unwanted furniture are supposed to call Public Works and get an estimate for the price they will have to pay for pickup. King said the “Free Trash Pickup Day” had grown in size to the point it was taking up to a week for city workers to pickup everything citizens put out.

Approximately 259 tons of garbage were picked up during last year’s free pickup and most of that garbage had to be taken to the county landfill, he said.

Hobby said the revenue the city receives from customers paying for special pickups did not make a significant difference in the overall balance of the Solid Waste enterprise fund. Therefore, he said it might be possible to do special pickups year-round without additional charge.

City Councilwoman Roslyn Palmer suggested the city develop a better way for customers to notify city employees when something was left at the curbside for special pickup, as she believed sometimes the items sat out for weeks at a time.

Election dates, fees set

The council set qualifying dates and fees associated with the general municipal election to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Candidates may qualify for the election from 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 31, until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4.

Qualifying fees were set to 3 percent of the elected positions’ annual salaries, $90 for alderman and $171 for mayor. Candidates should file their notice of candidacy in the office of the Board of Elections and Voter Registration.

Councilmen Joe Sweet and Greg Waddell will be up for re-election, as will at-large Councilman Edward Reynolds and Mayor Mark Harrell.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• Appointed Missy Rollins to fill a seat on the Historic Preservation Commission formerly occupied by Rollins Miller, who recently moved out of the historic district, according to Mayor Harrell.