City sets new course for garbage service

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 23, 2002

Brookhaven officials last week took a step toward what they hopeis a solution to the city’s solid waste woes.

Whether the step is one toward financial solvency for the solidwaste department or a step out of the garbage business altogetherremains to be seen.

The city board decision to discontinue commercial garbage pickup service at the end of January is both good and bad. It is goodin that city fathers have finally acted on the situation and bad inthat business owners suddenly have been left to find other means ofdisposing of their garbage.

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City officials blamed commercial garbage pick up service and aninadequate fee schedule for the loss on thousands of dollars in thesolid waste department. One example cited was a business that paid$125 for city service, but the city had to pay $700 to dispose ofgarbage generated by that business.

Officials doubted whether commercial customers would acceptraising rates to a level needed to make the operationself-supporting, thus the decision to discontinue commercialservice.

An unanswered question last week was whether residential feesalone would be enough to support garbage pick up at homes and inneighborhoods. Officials said they will be monitoring thatsituation and hope that residential service can be retained.

If fees are inadequate, rate increases, more solid wasteemployee layoffs or the possibility of privatized residentialservice will have to be considered. The first two choices areunpleasant and the third would mean no more city-run solid wasteservice at all.

While officials are sure to get calls from commercial customersunhappy about the discontinued service, aldermen hope they have seta course out of the quagmire of city garbage problems. Whether thatmeans smooth sailing or rough waters is uncertain.