City must resolve its trash pick up problems

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 12, 2004

Following a Brookhaven board decision to privatize garbagecollection services, early results from continued city-run trashpick up operations are proving less than promising.

Due to illness or other reasons for employee absences, citytrash crews are running about two days behind on collectionduties.

The trash department currently has seven employees, with anotherstationed at the landfill. More trash department employees havebeen requested, but that threatens to wreck the city’s solid wastebudget.

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Equipment is also in need of repair. The estimate to repair adozer at the landfill was over $13,000.

Despite repeated public awareness efforts, residents still arenot cooperating with city requests to separate garbage and trash.City ordinances requiring that separation are not beingenforced.

In the latest blow, city fathers learned last week a rubbishsite at the landfill has an estimated six months of life left.

When trash can no longer be placed at the landfill, it willeither have to be disposed of as garbage or taken to a rubbish siteelsewhere. Either option will cost the city additional money.

On top of the trash dilemma, the city soon will be paying theprivate garbage company more money for its services. The reason isthe company has been picking up garbage at over 3,700 homes whilethe city has been paying for only 3,100 homes.

City and private company officials are expected to determine amore accurate house count by May 1. With the city water departmentsending out water bills to around 3,500 customers a month, the citymust make sure that everyone who benefits from the garbage servicepays for it.

In voting to privatize garbage services, aldermen rejectedhaving the company also pick up trash for $1 to $4 more perhousehold, depending on the collection option chosen. There wereconcerns then about requiring that leaves and pine straw be baggedand limbs cut to a certain length.

Aldermen initially approved a $1.50 a month increase in thegarbage fee. The board later rescinded that move, preferring to seehow finances and operations go for several months.

After only one month, there appears to be little improvement.With current problems and seemingly new ones every week, perhapsit’s time for the board the take trash operations off the city’shands altogether.