Talking it over

Advanced Disposal marketing representative Gentry Shows, left, talks to Ashville Mayor Derrick Mostella concerning problems with garbage service.


Gary Hanner/St. Clair Times

ASHVILLE -- Complaints from Ashville residents concerning garbage pickup caused representatives from Advanced Disposal to attend the Ashville council meeting Feb. 20.

Marketing representative Gentry Shows and Billy Porter, general manager from the Lincoln office, met with the mayor and council to discuss issues residents were having. Mayor Derrick Mostella told the men there have been issues with trash over the past couple of months, and the residents of Ashville have not been receiving the quality of service they expect.

“We thought the best approach would be to get you guys up here in front of some of our citizens,” Mostella said. “Although we do contract this service out to you guys, at the end of the day, we are responsible for the quality of service our citizens receive. We have had issues with that quality of service for a few months. We wanted our citizens to voice their concerns. We want to see what we can do to make it a better process for all of us.”

Said Shows, “I asked Billy to come to address these issues because I don’t run the trucks or hire the drivers. We are open to hearing what you have to say. We monitor our complaints very well. Last week, for the entire week, we only had one complaint form Ashville.”

Shows said he knew there was a period of time when it snowed in the area in January, and crews missed work three consecutive days.

“When you lose one or two days, you can make it up,” he said. “But when you lose three days, it is almost impossible to go back out. The state troopers had the roads closed. It also snowed in December, but it wasn’t as much as the one in January.

"With the roads closed, we are not just going to put our trucks out there; one, we’re not going to endanger our employees, and two, we’re not going to endanger the general public. It’s a tough call for us, because we cannot predict the weather. Anything other than that, I apologize.”

Shows also said if there are complaints with garbage carts, Advanced Disposal bring carts to City Hall and drops them off.

Mostella said a plan needs to be set up to make sure everyone with a garbage cart is a paying customer.

“We need to make sure there is not a household that has three carts and they are only paying for one,” Mostella said. “The biggest complaints we get is consistency. There was about a three- to four-month period where we could not depend on the service at all. The quality of service tailed off as well.”

Ashville resident Bobby Cook said for the past five years, he has some of the sorriest garbage cans.

“I don’t know if they are the cheapest, but they are definitely the sorriest,” he said. “One day, your driver just took off with my can. I had to call City Hall to get a can. One day, the driver picked up three cans. Mine was the fourth can, and he skipped right by it.”

Mostella said that was the biggest complaint – just skipping trash cans.

“One driveway down, they’ll pick up the trash, and then skip the next driveway,” Mostella said. “When that happens, we literally get calls saying they are not paying for trash pickup that week because their trash was not picked up. And then it just snowballs from there. I want you to know that we did not invite you up here tonight just to rag on y’all. We invited you up here to let you know that our service has gotten to the point where we had to do something.”

Mostella said he and the city would take a measure of responsibility on how things have gotten.

“But if your guys are out there picking up 600 trash cans, and we have only 400 paying customers, then that’s a problem,” he said. “We need to address that and figure it out. We do not want to put anything on y’all that we are not paying you for.

"Even though we are contracting this service out, we are the ones who are responsible for the quality of service our citizens receive, and we are the ones bearing the blunt of that every day that we are out and about. We want to show our citizens that we are working to get this thing fixed. You guys are welcome to come here and trail your guys and see for yourself.”

Shows said they would address the situation and make sure the service improves.

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