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Aldermen adopt new garbage pickup policy

Brookhaven aldermen continued to wrestle with solid wastequestions Tuesday, ultimately agreeing on a revised pickuppolicy.

At the last board meeting, Ward Two Alderman Terry Batesquestioned what items were being picked up after the board voted toraise solid waste fees by $4 a month recently. He wanted to ensurewhite goods, such as refrigerators and water heaters, were beingcollected.

“I think we’re doing a good job,” Bates said. “But if we leavewhite goods off, it’s a problem.”

After some research, Mayor Bob Massengill said the city wascharging extra to pick up large limbs (over 10 in diameter) and”abnormal’ amounts of debris. He mentioned one location where 12televisions had been left for pickup as an example of an abnormalamount.

In alluding to a need to stay within its financial means,Massengill pointed out the city’s solid waste operation lost$80,000 last year.

“We don’t want to lose money again,” the mayor said.

Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes agreed.

“We still have to stay within what we can afford to do with whatwe can generate,” she said.

Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell mentioned instances where peoplewere putting out items that had been “stored up” over time. Hesuggested that once those piles are collected, problems wouldlessen.

Alderman at large Les Bumgarner questioned why city residentscould not take items to the dump themselves and not be charged.

Solid Waste Department Superintendent Jimmy Cooks said WasteManagement operates the transfer station. He indicated most of theitems brought to the landfill is garbage, for which the city ischarged to dispose of, and not rubbish, which could be placed in aseparate area.

“If it’s not rubbish, they can’t dump it for free,” Cookssaid.

Calling for more public education on the matter, officials saidresidents need to separate garbage from trash. Garbage includeshousehold waste while trash included yard waste like tree limbs andleaves.

Whenever the items are mixed, it is considered garbage.

“What costs us is mixed garbage,” Bates said.

Following more discussion, the board agreed on a policy to pickup most everything, including mattresses, couches and other largeitems. What will not be picked up are tires and constructiondebris.

The board also discussed locations where people have moved out,primarily in rental housing, and have left large amounts ofgarbage. Officials said they would look at withholding cityservices from those location until additional fees for abnormalamounts are paid.

Bumgarner continued to voice concerns about the policy.

“We’re not encouraging people to help us with the problem. We’reencouraging them to put more stuff on the street,” Bumgarnersaid.

Maxwell said any policy or system the board develops wouldlikely be abused in some way. He said the board will periodicallyhave to review the policy to determine its effectiveness.