Board yet to commit to garbage change

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Solid waste privatization proposals, expected aroundmid-November, will give aldermen several options on garbagecollection costs and frequency, a consultant said Tuesday.

Butch Lambert said the proposals from private companies does notmean the city has to commit to privatization.

“It’s to see what they have to offer and if it would besomething the city is interested in doing,” Lambert said at lastnight’s meeting of the mayor and board of aldermen.

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Lambert said he would develop specifications for once and twicea week separate garbage and trash pick up and specifications forpick up of co-mingled garbage and trash. He will also seek a pricefor the way the city runs its service now, which is twice a weekgarbage pick up and once a week trash collection.

Lambert, who is being paid $10,000 plus up to $1,000 in expensesfor his services, speculated that the private companies couldprovide pick up service cheaper than what the city is doing. Heindicated that garbage fees would not have to be raised.

“My opinion is the $12 a month you’re charging will besufficient for any privatization you do,” Lambert said.

Alderman-at-large Les Bumgarner asked that Lambert also seekprices on pick up of bagged leaves and limbs.

Aldermen are considering a move toward privatization as a way tosolve solid waste operational woes. While the city is charging $12a month per household for residential pick up, it is costing $22 amonth in personnel, equipment and other expenses, according to onecalculation.

Ward 2 Alderman Terry Bates asked about Lambert’s role and hisadvising the city on whether to stay in the garbage business or getout.

Lambert said he had done an analysis of city operations severalyears ago and made some recommendations on what it would take forthe city to continue the service. He said the recommendationsinvolved some “drastic changes” and the operation becoming moreefficient.

“If you can’t do those recommendations, you’re not going to makeit,” Lambert said.

Lambert said he expected to have the proposals by the middle ofNovember. The board could then make a decision on how toproceed.


In another solid waste matter last night, aldermen delayed adecision on whether to have a garbage compactor at the old citylandfill repaired. The compactor has been inoperable for severalyears.

James Arnold, Solid Waste-Garbage superintendent, presented arepair estimate for approximately $30,000. He said there is $27,000in his budget for repairs.

With the city considering getting out of the garbage business,aldermen questioned spending the money on the repair. Mayor BillGodbold said the piece of equipment could be sold once it isrepaired.


In other business during last night’s meeting, aldermen voted toexercise the city’s option on an additional 40 acres of land nearthe industrial park. The city has had the land, known as the Fenderproperty, under option for the last two years.

The $20,000 the city has paid for the options will be applied tothe $240,000 purchase price. Of the remainder, the IndustrialDevelopment Foundation has agreed to pay $95,000 and the city$125,000, said Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengill, who made the motionto purchase the land.


Several personnel matters got city officials’ attentionTuesday.

In one matter, aldermen named Brookhaven-Lincoln County CivilDefense Director Clifford Galey as the city’s Homeland Securitycoordinator. The city position had been jointly held by PoliceChief Pap Henderson and Fire Chief Paul Cartwright.

However, state officials said it would be better for the cityand county to have one coordinator. County supervisors wereexpected to act on the Galey appointment following the cityaction.

Also, the board voted to contribute $1,300 to the HomelandSecurity effort, which can be matched with $1,300 from the countyand then $2,600 from the state. That would give the county a totalof $5,200 to be used for Homeland Security.

City officials revisited the vacant assistant fire chiefposition. Former Assistant Fire Chief Moses Bell, who also servedas fire inspector, retired about a month ago and the position hasnot been filled.

Bates questioned whether Bell’s job would stay as one positionor be made into two. Cartwright said he is still takingapplications and was focusing on the fire inspector aspect of thejob.

“You’re not required to have an assistant chief, but you arerequired to have a fire inspector,” Cartwright said.

Cartwright said a salary needed to be determined for when ahiring decision is made. He suggested several board members getinvolved in that process.

Ward 3 Alderman the Rev. Jerry L. Wilson said the departmentshould have an assistant chief. He said there are people in thedepartment with seniority who should be promoted.

“Let’s do it right,” Wilson said.

Other aldermen, though, cited Cartwright’s ability to get alongwith whoever is hired.

“He has to hire somebody he feels comfortable with and can workwith,” Bumgarner said.

Ward 1 Alderman Dorsey Cameron said the board backed Hendersonseveral years ago with his choice as assistant police chief. Heindicated aldermen should do the same with the fire chief.

“Whoever he brings in, we should keep an open mind about it,”Cameron said.