PTC punts trash deal for now

Fri, 11/07/2008 - 2:35pm
By: John Munford

The Peachtree City Council backpedaled off a proposal that would have required all city residents to use the same trash provider ... whether or not they even used the service.

The plan, which was softened to allow any resident to opt out, was put on hold indefinitely by a unanimous council vote.

Though any resident could have opted out of the proposed deal, they would not be allowed to hire another curbside garbage collection company, city officials said. That would leave hauling your own garbage to the county “dump” as likely the only other realistic option.

But after taking more than two hours of comments from residents, some for but most against the plan, the idea was punted back to city staff to get more information. Some residents questioned whether CLM was the right choice of company to handle the service.

City staff was asked to look into the possibility of requiring all trash haulers to provide recycling for all city customers and to include the additional price in the customers’ bills. One city trash hauler, Cardinal Sanitation, provides recycling as part of its waste hauling service for about the same price the other companies charge for trash hauling without recycling.

Several council members said they had problems with going away from the current free market system.

Under the proposed opt-out plan, CLM would have been allowed to seek council approval for a rate increase if more than 2 percent of city residents opt out; the company could also choose to either stay in the contract or cancel the contract, city officials said.

Residents who choose to opt out of the proposed trash service would be able to haul their own trash to the county’s waste transfer station in Fayetteville, city officials said. Resident Julius Holt said he does that already and it only costs him $16 a year as opposed to the $45 a quarter the proposed service from CLM would cost.

Holt was told he, like any other resident, would be allowed to opt out of the proposed curbside trash service if he chose.

It was reported that Peachtree City only recycles 2 to 3 percent of its eligible waste each year, compared to 16 percent achieved in Fayetteville and 25 percent in Newnan and Union City. But some residents who addressed council called that figure into question.

Others questioned the potential level of service CLM would provide.

Resident Bob Smith said he previously had CLM as his trash service but he fired the company after they missed a trash pickup in his entire subdivision and failed to fix the problem by the next day.

“CLM has not provided the kind of service that we expect,” Smith said.

Resident Beth Pullias said it was “pathetic” that the city only recycles 2 to 3 percent of the eligible material that instead goes into landfills.

Recycling is included in the proposed contract as residents would get a 65 gallon rollcart where all recyclables could be dumped without being sorted. This compares to the typical 95 gallon size trash cart that would also be provided to each resident.

Participation in the recycling program would not be mandatory, according to city documents.

Resident Phyllis Aguayo said some people she’s talked to are concerned about the quality of service and the potential recourse if they are dissatisfied with the service. Aguayo, like several other residents who spoke at the meeting, said she supported recycling.

City Purchasing Manager Angela Egan said the program has a number of benefits including:
- Recycling being included in the quarterly price with no requirement to separate the items;
- Reducing the amount of garbage trucks causing wear, tear and spills on the street;
- The ability for code enforcement to hold accountable one company for littering and spilled liquids from trucks;
- Free backdoor pickup service for residents with a medical need;
- Inclusion of yard waste pickup;
- A performance and cash bond would be posted by CLM “so if there are any problems there’s a financial recourse for the city.”
- A reduction in costs for all residents

Under the contract CLM would be allowed to increase the price every year based on the consumer price index to account for cost increases. The contract (is/was) proposed to start in April 2009.

The city is not proposing to close down the recycling center, McMullen said. He added that increasing the city’s recycling efforts has been one of his main goals since he was hired as city manager.

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Submitted by Spyglass on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:58pm.

every least they thought about making it better.

Submitted by CuriousBob on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 7:05pm.

Just to set the record straight...Bob Smith stated that he fired CLM after they missed the subdivision on several ocassions. CLM promised to pick up the following Friday but, failed that, as well. I'm not completly unreasonable! I gave them a chance to correct the situation. I exercised my right to the free market.

Submitted by PS1441 on Mon, 11/10/2008 - 6:21am.

We also fired CLM for similar problems (in fayetteville).
Missed pickups, trash all over the yard, changed pick up dates.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 3:12pm.

Thanks, John, for rewriting the article.

This will go to mandating companies must offer recycling plus trash as one service to operate in PTC. That takes the getting containers to the homes off the table as far the issue of encouraging citizens to recycle goes.

Two of us would never support mandating but one probably would have if the opt out feature had allowed more to opt out. This avenue removed that as a consideration.

The ordinance will now be formulated. Input from Council and Staff will be gathered for that formulation.

I have already added mandating collection pans for leakage from the the trash container. That will also catch some fluid leaks.

In addition I also asked for research into the possibility of some form of annual check for hose replacements, leaky seals and evidence of improper fluid fillings that end up leaking. Understood is that would also require some kind of sticker on the trucks to prove this truck has been checked according to PTC requirements.

On the issue of multiple trucks, those come with trash, recycling and even yard waste. Each service equals another truck. Plus, HOA's and neighborhoods can resolve many of their own multiple truck issues by getting together and making a group choice on providers or sharing containers, etc. This is a price that comes with keeping one's freedom to choose, but one that can also result in group discounts.

I have already been contacted by Allsouth. They have, as of today, merged trash and recycling into being their base service and will be adjusting prices. So the free market is already at work on this issue. It will also drive quality of service.

PTC is a major market. They will work to get the biggest market share here they can. But by price and customer service, not government mandate via bidding.

Now, how do we get people to stop littering? A huge problem costing a lot of tax money that can easily be avoided.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Evil Elvis's picture
Submitted by Evil Elvis on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 7:43pm.

What on Earth are you talking about?

By the by, multiple streams do not necessarily mean multiple trucks. Two and even three compartment trucks are used nationwide. Heil even makes their fantastically fast Python series with two compartment bodies. It's weird but it works. Castro Valley, California, uses two compartment automated trucks on residential streets that are similar to ours. It's called a one pass system. You know, because you only pass once.

I commend you, however, for having the foresight to try to avoid problems caused by hydraulic leaks. Word to the wise: Rear-end loaders rarely, if ever, throw fluid on the ground. Other types of residential trucks (ASLs, FELs, etc) can be ... a problem. I've paid to have city streets scarified when cleaning wasn't possible. Nasty stuff.

Shoulda started with yardwaste and composting, Don. It's low hanging fruit and allows even semi-sophisticated collectors and processors to introduce food waste programs for restaurants to help drive down their disposal costs. I know, I know. Everybody saw dollar signs with the outrageously high yellow sheet prices, but that's all gone now. PET is moving for the cost of freight alone and you fellas are building facilities. Way to pick 'em.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 9:00pm.

Elvis, it was stated by the providers. One truck per service. Trash + recycling + yard is three trucks. So it would be three trucks.

Here are some pics of the CLM trucks, in example.

I have seen the multi compartment haulers, but never in PTC. Not to say they are not around somewhere. But in that trade off doesn't it mean instead of three trucks going through once one truck has to go through three times for the whole route three would cover?

Thanks for the info on the different load positions and leaking. I didn't know that.

Coming up with commercial recycling is what will be looked into next. The greater push, from the public and some at City Hall, was residential. Remember this process began on the last Council. A work in progress when Doug and I came on. And yes, an incredibly long time to get to this point.

Doing what we can, Elvis. At least we stopped the mandatory one provider effort.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Evil Elvis's picture
Submitted by Evil Elvis on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 11:14pm.

The haulers are morons.

I'm not against a franchise municipal contract, but the RFP (I read it) is weak. Should the city ever write another, one hopes they remember that the winning bidder is not doing anybody a favor. Make 'em pay for the privilege.

And hehehe Don ... why not alternate yardwaste and recycling every other week and have one garbage truck make two passes (one with garbage; dump, then one with the second stream)? One truck is a lot cheaper than three. But what do I know.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Sat, 11/08/2008 - 11:42am.

You have to remember in a Council/City Manager system that we instruct the City Manager and Staff, then they interpret our instructions and follow through. The interpretation does not always mate up with the instruction and when questions are asked by Staff they do not always ask the whole Council, but sometimes the one who initiated the issue or just the Mayor, when he is in his office.

As with a good number of the ordinance changes I was the go to guy. And thus why the current disagreement between Planning, Logsdon and me over the 35' cap in the LUC proposal.

You are so right, winning a bid is not a favor by the bid winner. They are getting the favor.

I had actually thought about once a month yard and two weeks on the recycling. No way I am going to fill up that big recycling container in a month, in fact. But, I was quickly informed by those with a few kids filling a container is no challenge for them.

You are right. Alternating would have reduced their capital and weekly overhead by a full truck. Not to mention removing a truck from the streets.

Any way we go at this there is a down side.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 2:10pm.

close down the recycling center? Isn't that being closed due to the Rockaway Rd. realignment and new development there? And the City has no land to put the recycling center,(we won't discuss the dump, uh, police dept. land) so they're cramming this down our throats? If this has been one of Bernie's "main goals since he was hired" then HE needs to find another town to manage. What a waste (pun intended) of time, town money and poor priorities he has exhibited. Ask him how much taxpayer money he is authorizing to be spent for the cart paths to be built to connect the tunnels and bridge on Hwy 54 that COULD be paid for by a grant. Who hired you, Bernie? Maybe they want to propose a new contract for you, too.

Submitted by ethridgew on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 1:44pm.

First thank you for being a voice of reason in last nights meeting concerning this mandate you are absolutly correct last night in your assertion that this is not the way to go just to get people to recycle.
I have a question for you, Everyone who stood up for the contract and correct me if I'm wrong, did not mention waste removal but instead concentrated soley on Recycle then shouldn't we drop the pretenses and develop a recycle plan for the city instead of trying to force people into a contract?
Has anyone bothered to check and see if the other providers can or will implement recycle programs that doesn't involve government control and I say that meaning I'm sure that if the city said that they want services offered at a competitive rate for the citizens that this could be put behind us and everyone get back to the important issues?
Last thing for now, I understand how involved and commited some are to recycling and I understand how passionate some can be about recycling but can they understand that you can not make people do what they just are not going to do especially by forcing unpopular laws down their throats? My daddy always said you can catch more bees with honey than vinegar.

Submitted by fluffybear on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 1:42pm.

When we moved to Peachtree City, we signed up with Robertson Sanitation and have had nothing but trouble with them. We fired Robertson and moved to CLM in early August and have nothing but good things to say about them.

The one thing I really would like to see is recycling being included. My wife and I like the idea of recycling but can not understand how sanitation companies think we should pay $5.00 or $6.00 a month for recycling when they are taking my recyclables and making money on them..

Submitted by ethridgew on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 1:50pm.

I have All South and their service is great, never been missed (so far) driver is courteous have bugged him several times with my requests for little extras and always helps. Anyway brought them with me when I moved here. They do recycle I just don't always remember to put it out but it takes me forever to fill it anyway, I try.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 1:38pm. actually inform the citizenry of our fair town of just how many man hours have been spent on this issue? It seems as if Bernie and staff have reached a new pinnacle of incompetence. And to think we keep adding more employees into his domain. No wonder our Council has to annex property without a plan.

Sounds like kids who have yet to understand the meaning of "no." How many times to we need to tell you guys "It ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Submitted by ethridgew on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 2:01pm.

But it is not about garbage, it's about recycling, this whole thing is about recycling and wanting people to recycle more. I set in awe at the few people who seem to be driving this, but the problem is they are people in a position of power forcing their will on us.
Will someone with some reasoning please tell these people that to achieve a goal especially one in which a positive result is expected then starting a fight is not the way to do it!!!
Come on people use your powers for good but be smart about it!

Submitted by America on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 1:12pm.

I pay $33.00 a QTR from Titan. No, issues with them.

Submitted by loud on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 2:46pm.

Thanks to all of you that went last night and let your voice be heard. It is time that we stand up for our rights and put council in their place. This type of criminal Government behavior needs to be stopped and I am glad to see it was. I had every plan to go last night but was unable to, so I was ecstatic to here 2 hours were spent discussing the topic. We do not need a single provider of any service, we should have choice to choose any service provider for any service, including Cable TV! But that is an entirely different topic. I can now put off my plans for finding a new place to live outside of Peachtree city.

Submitted by walterinptc on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 2:56pm.

Last night was impresive except for those who would have us thrown in jail for not recycling. It's important I agree but to try and force us into this mess because you THINK it is going to make us recycle more come on give me a break. I've seen some things but this is right up there. Whats next? I can't wait to see.

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