• 59°

Waste Pro to supervisors: Pay up or we walk

County supervisors will hand over two months of payments they’ve been withholding from Waste Pro after the company threatened to skip out on the last eight weeks of its contract if not paid by the end of the week.

The board voted unanimously Monday to hand over the nearly $180,000 in payments for the months of June and July by the Friday deadline, and will instead deduct the expenses they’ve incurred from cleaning up behind the company’s missed trash pickups from the final two payments for August and September. Supervisors have been sitting on the two summer checks in retaliation for the near-total breakdown of Waste Pro’s services in 2018.

“I don’t know if just September will cover it,” said District 5 Supervisor Doug Falvey, when asked if the county should penalize Waste Pro on its final payment only. “Who knows how much we’ll have to pick up in August and September?”

Supervisors have often been forced off road and bridge duty and into the trash collection business this year as county residents have reported missed pickups by the thousands. Supervisors have been keeping records of missed addresses and plan to deduct their expenses from Waste Pro’s final payments before newly-hired garbage company Arrow Disposal Service Inc. takes over on a three-year contract that begins Oct. 1.

The board hired ADSI on July 2 after months of Waste Pro miscues, but the changing of the guard only made matters worse. Waste Pro’s service deteriorated further as employees began jumping ship to find new jobs before the company leaves town, forcing the group to offer bonuses to workers who agreed to stay behind and call in extra manpower from other contracted cities.

Trash collection got so bad in July supervisors enacted a “cure breach” clause in their contract to set up the deduction system, and the City of Brookhaven offered to loan the county equipment to help grab garbage at the more than 9,000 households putting out trash once per week. 

Waste Pro straightened out enough that supervisors declined the offer from Brookhaven, but bad service has continued — Falvey reported 262 houses on 22 roads missed Thursday and Friday in District 5.

“They will not communicate, will not return a call or a text,” he said. “If they can’t pick it up, at least they ought to let us know. We were not the reason they lost the contract.”

District 5 wasn’t the only area missed in Lincoln County.

“It’s been two weeks since my garbage was picked up, and we got wild dogs and goats,” said Danny Brady, who lives near Hurricane Lake, while addressing the board Monday. “I just want to see the problem solved.”

Brady told supervisors he would allow a dumpster to be placed on his property so his neighbors could throw away their garbage after Waste Pro skips their community. District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown said he would try to get a bin moved out there.

District 3 Supervisor Nolan Earl Williamson asked board attorney Bob Allen to demand Waste Pro send more trucks and workers to Lincoln County, but it’s probably too late for a strong phone call from the lawyer’s office to do much good. Waste Pro Regional VP Randy Waterlander appeared before the board a month ago and promised the company’s service would “get much better.”

“There’s always a couple of misses, but we should be getting 95 percent this week, maybe 98 percent back to normal,” he said then.