City explores trash, inmate options

Published 11:02 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The City of Bainbridge could be exploring new options for their landfill and inmate services in the coming months.
While the city currently pays Decatur County for portions of those services, it was announced at the Bainbridge City Council meeting Tuesday that other vendors had inquired about those services and a bid process for landfill usage will begin next week.
Public Services Director Steve Windburn told the council Tuesday in a presentation, some competition had appeared in garbage services. Winburn said he had received inquiries about garbage services form surrounding areas such as Thomasville, Campbellton, Fla. and Cairo. They would start the bidding process next week on March 26 and see what those areas would charge.
The City of Bainbridge pays $24.50 a ton to use the Decatur County landfill and they pay on a need-to-use basis — there is no contract. The city, on average, dumps close to 1,066 tons each month of trash — costing $26,000 each month. Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby said just a small savings of per-ton dumping prices could save the city and taxpayers money.
“We are also working on finishing our transfer site,” Winburn said.
This site would save the city’s garbage trucks from travelling 22 miles to the Decatur County landfill each time their truck was full. Instead there will now be a location closer for immediate garbage holding needs that will save them money on fuel.
“There is an estimated savings of $150,000 a year for fuel, plus time with employees, wear and tear on trucks — it will be a big savings,” Winburn said.
That transfer site should be completed in mid-April.
But the city also indicated they were seeking out options for inmate services as well.
Hobby spoke to the council, along with Winburn, about options inmate crews they use for public services such as garbage cleanup and landscaping.
The city has used two inmate crews from Decatur County with two certified correctional officers that were employees of the city. With one of those correctional officers retired, the city is seeking a new officer to supervise an inmate crew.
“We reached out to the county to see if we could do a contract for them to provide a guard as well as an inmate crew,” Hobby said. “The initial answer to that was yes — they could do that working with Warden (Elijah) McCoy and it could be similar to the contract they have now with Cairo — they just needed the county administrator to approve it.”
Hobby said once the matter was brought to Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove, they were told the county was not doing any more of those contracts until further review in July.
“[Breedlove] had some concerns with medical costs, liability and inmate safety,” Hobby said. “However he had no problem if we wanted to have our own guard and wanted to pick the inmates up.”
The city said they believe they may have to hire someone and wait several months before the employee is certified as a correctional officer. In the meantime, Hobby said some public services chores could fall behind.
“It will hurt us a little bit,” Hobby said. “We use those crews to pick up trash so we may get behind, but we will still have one crew out working with our existing officer.”

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