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December 26, 2014

City looking at taking over garbage pickup

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Posted: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:35 am

PELL CITY – City officials are looking at possibly taking over garbage pick-up, saying the city could make money while providing better service.

“We have talked about picking up our own trash,” said Councilman Jay Jenkins. 

Jenkins said he met officials from other cities at the Alabama League of Municipalities Convention who brought garbage services back in-house.

“They were having the same problems we were having,” he said. 

The city’s contract with Advance Disposal expires in July, and the council approved to soliciting bids for garbage pickup services for the city. 

However, city officials are also looking at the feasibility of the city taking over garbage pickup duties.

“We’re trying to do an honest evaluation,” said City Manager Patrick Draper.

He said the city has 4,100 residential customers. 

Draper said the city could secure a 5-year lease for two garbage trucks and hire at least three people to pick up garbage. 

He estimated that it would cost the city $45,000 a month to provide garbage service to residents, but that estimate did not include limb pickup, recycling pickup or benefits for the additional employees. 

He said commercial garbage pickup service is separate and would not be included in the city’s garbage pickup service.

Draper estimated the city would bring in about $60,000 a month in revenue to offset expenses. 

Jenkins said he thinks the city could actually profit or reduce garbage pickup fees for residents. 

Draper said even if the city broke even, like it does now, the city could address complaints immediately.

 “The city would have direct control,” he said. 

Mayor Joe Funderburg said officials have met with Advance Disposal representatives about complaints on several occasions, in an effort to improve garbage pickup services for residents. 

He said the city is getting numerous complaints daily. 

“To me, we have to look at some alternative,” Funderburg said. “Obviously, something has to be done.”

Council President James McGowan said the city is getting too many complaints.

“We need to take a long, hard look (at the city taking over garbage pickup services),” he said.

McGowan also said the city is receiving too many complaints about garbage pickup services, and despite talking with the company that contracts with the city for garbage pickup, there is no improvement.

“We owe the people of Pell City more than this,” Funderburg said. 

Draper said the city would proceed in securing bids for garbage pickup services for the city, but he will get a cost estimate for the city providing garbage pickup services in-house.

Draper said if the City Council decided to move forward with the city handling residential garbage pickup, it could take up to one year to fully implement garbage pickup services.

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