creation of new
Grady County commissioners on Friday indicated a willingness to consider a major consolidation of county maintained dumpster sites and development of up to seven manned sites for solid waste disposal.
County Commissioners T.D. David and Keith Moye have served as an ad hoc committee to study and evaluate the county’s solid waste collection system and offer suggestions for improvement.
On Friday afternoon during a rescheduled county commission meeting, David and Moye shared their findings and recommendation.
“Our goal is to recommend the best method at the best cost possible. We won’t necessarily recommend the most inexpensive program and we won’t necessarily recommend the most elaborate, expensive program,” Commissioner David said.
David and Moye said that hiring additional deputies was unlikely to solve the issue of dumpster diving and illegal dumping at the county’s 42 dump sites where 254 dumpsters are located across the county.
David predicted that privatizing solid waste would cost the county 25 percent to 40 percent more than what it costs the county currently, but he acknowledged the county has not solicited pricing or proposals from private firms.
The city of Cairo is currently moving forward in negotiating a contract to privatize the collection of garbage and trash in the city and City Manager Chris Addleton has said the city will actually save money by privatizing its solid waste collections.
David said the committee’s research also ruled out an individual pick up system. “This may work for a compact city, but our unincorporated areas are too spread out,” he said.
What David and Moye are proposing is the development of six additional manned sites similar to the county’s lone manned site on 20th Street S.E. The 20th Street facility is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and according to David, remains clean, and has no unsightliness or health or safety issues.
By working with Chief Appraiser Susan Bennett and her staff, David and Moye have pinpointed possible locations for the six new manned sites within the county and on property the county already owns.
Vice Chairman Ray Prince suggested consolidating the the two sites on Pine Park Road as well as the Singletary Road site into the 20th Street S.E. site and evaluate how it is accepted before moving forward with additional consolidation.
Commissioner David agreed, but said that whatever the board decided it was important for the public to have input. He said that Thomas County attempted to mandate changes in solid waste and the public outcry was tremendous.
Moye said based on their review it would cost approximately $100,000 per site to develop sites similar to the 20th Street S.E. model.
Commissioner LaFaye Copeland said she favored the concept, but agreed with Prince that the county should pilot the program before moving forward with the full plan.
Commissioner Elwyn Childs described the 20th Street facility as the “best” the county has and he indicated a transition to manned sites was the way to go.
The county commission had already discussed shutting down three sites once the 20th Street S.E. site reopens. The 20th Street location has been temporarily closed and relocated to the Livestock Pavilion while the city completes the full-depth reclamation of the street.
Solid Waste Director Stanley Elkins says once the street reopens he will reopen the 20th Street site and close the two Pine Park Road locations and the Singletary Road location.
“We will hear from folks about that when we do it. We’ll just have to see how it works out,” Elkins said.
Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar said Friday an approximately $86,000 increase to the solid waste budget would have to be added to cover the cost of the part-time labor to man the proposed dump sites.
Commissioner Copeland asked what had been the impact of Sheriff Harry Young’s directions to his officers to beef up patrol of dump sites and enforcement of liter laws. According to Tobar, not a single citation has been issued.
David suggested at some point the board hold a public meeting to receive comment on the consolidation plan once the pilot project is underway and can be evaluated.