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City trash pickup changing in March

Bainbridge officials decided Tuesday to reduce the city’s trash pickup to once per week but are hoping the transition will be smooth.

Beginning Monday, March 2, city garbage trucks will stop by residences and businesses just once per week. It’s a plan meant to keep the city government from losing money on its garbage service, which cannot be subsidized with taxpayer money, according to City Manager Chris Hobby.

The good news is that customers will keep their existing first pickup day of the week, either Monday or Tuesday, depending on where they live. Special pickups, which may soon become free of charge, will probably be done on Wednesdays, while pickup of yard debris will occur on Wednesday through Friday, Hobby said.

After holding a second public hearing on the city’s garbage pickup at their Tuesday meeting, members of the Bainbridge were faced with two choices: Convert to once-per-week pickup, keeping the existing $20.13 charge and allowing customers to buy or lease a second garbage can; or to maintain two pickups per week, but increase the pickup fee to $24 for all residential customers to keep the city’s solid waste fund solvent.

Councilwoman Roslyn Palmer said both she and people she’d talked could see the pros and cons of either option. She said she believed that making every customer pay more for garbage pickup would be “tough.”

Councilman Luther Conyers also wanted to give the once-a-week pickup a try.

Councilman Edward Reynolds said he hoped citizens may consider reducing their waste by recycling, a suggestion echoed by Councilwoman Palmer and Mayor Mark Harrell.

Hobby said he is optimistic citizens will be able to adjust to the reduction in pickup days.

“Research has shown that a 90-gallon container is enough for most people on once-a-week pickup,” Hobby said. “I understand it may not be enough for everyone, though.”

People who need extra garbage capacity will be able to either buy a second garbage can, at the city’s cost of $53, or lease one for an extra $5 per month. Starting in March, smaller commercial customers currently using cans will have the option to get a four-yard Dumpster for $46.10 per month.