City seeks help with trash duty

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 22, 2004

Brookhaven officials are continuing to ask for citizens’ help intrying to keep solid waste disposal costs down.

Private garbage collection services began this month in thecity. In moving to privatize garbage pick up, aldermen elected tocontinue with city-run trash pick up services.

However, Trash Department Superintendent Willie Smith saidcitizens are continuing to mix garbage and trash. City officialshave urged citizens to separate the items when they are put out forpick up.

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“If they would put leaves and limbs in one pile, then it wouldbe easier for us to get,” Smith said.

Trash is classified as tree limbs, pine straw, leaves andsimilar yard waste. Garbage is classified as household waste, food,chemical waste, fabrics, glass, plastic, cardboard, paper and anywater-holding container.

Aldermen approved sending out a booklet to water customersexplaining the difference between garbage and trash and askingresident to not mix them. City Attorney Joe Fernald said thebooklet is being developed.

“I want to look at the ordinance as it relates to changes wemade with privatization,” Fernald said. “It’ll be done soon.”

When city crews don’t pick up trash because it contains garbageor other items, Smith said he leaves a flyer at the residenceexplaining the reason for the non-collection. Smith said he leavesabout 10 flyers a week, but they have been ineffective to solvingthe problem.

“They’re not the ones complaining. We’re getting complaints fromtheir neighbors,” Smith said about trash not being picked up. “Theyneed to be talking to their neighbors to keep the community lookinggood.”

Larger items such as mattresses, tables, stoves, deep freezersand refrigerators require an additional $5 per item fee for pickup. Smith said only about 40 percent of people who put out thelarger items pay the fee.

“Some people have the attitude, ‘I pay taxes. It’ll lay thereuntil you pick it up,'” Smith said.

Smith said the options left to the city then are to prosecuteunder litter ordinances or to raise fees to cover the expenses ofpicking up all items.

In voting to privatize garbage, aldermen elected to not raisethe $12 a month fee for garbage and trash collection. The privategarbage company charges $9.95 per household.

“That leaves $2.05 for trash,” said Smith, mentioning othercosts such as gasoline for vehicles and billing services. “It’s alot that comes out of that $2.05.”