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WANTED TO BUY: approximately two acres of land in or near Whigham, Georgia. Call 229-377-1512.
The Grady County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday set a Sept. 1 deadline to identify a suitable location for a new manned garbage site to serve the Whigham area or else proceed with developing the site off State Park Road on property the county owns at the end of the road which leads to the main entrance to Tired Creek Lake.
Commissioner June Knight, who represents Whigham and District 1, is not in favor of erecting a manned garbage site near the main entrance of the lake, but she agreed that efforts to find land that might be donated or that the county could purchase for a reasonable price had not been found.
The board of commissioners is anxious to establish a fifth manned garbage site, with plans eventually to create seven, and begin closing all of the unmanned sites.
The county solicited a Request for Qualifications from Advanced Disposal, Seminole Sanitation, City of Thomasville, Smith Co. Recycling and Taylor Waste Services and only Taylor Waste Services responded.
Grady County administrator J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, said that based on initial projections, the cost to privatize the collection and disposal of garbage from the manned sites would be less expensive to the county than keeping the service in-house provided Taylor employs the county personnel who are currently employed in solid waste operations and the additional costs paid to the firm each holiday season to assist county forces in cleaning up the dumpster sites is eliminated.
Johnson also said if the county remains in the solid waste business, a new garbage truck is needed immediately and a second one very shortly.
“We get nailed every Monday morning on social media,” Johnson said by those who take photos of the unmanned sites around 8 a.m. on Mondays and post the photos. The administrator said it was not fair to the county forces who “are busting their butts” to clean them up. “I can’t fix ignorance, but I wish they would come back and take a photo on Monday at lunch,” Johnson said.
The county administrator said the unmanned sites cannot be controlled and the only way to address the situation is to get the fifth site up and running to serve the west side of the county and close the outlying manned sites.
“We don’t get any complaints on our manned sites,” Johnson said.
Commissioner Phillip Drew said he personally had asked around trying to find property for a manned site near Whigham as has Commissioner Knight and other county officials, but no site has been identified. “We’ve got to move. We’ve got to clean our county up,” Drew said.
Commissioner LaFaye Copeland reminded Drew that the board had been working to solve the issues regarding the dumpster sites for several years prior to his election. She also asked if, due to COVID-19, the county should contact other vendors to gauge interest and she questioned why none of the others had responded.
Commissioner Drew opposed such a move and said that if the other vendors had been interested they should have taken time like Taylor Waste representatives had to respond to the solicitation.
Commissioner Copeland said she had not been satisfied with the service Taylor provides to the City of Cairo. Taylor is the service provider for solid waste collection and disposal for not only the City of Cairo, but also the City of Whigham.
Commissioner Knight agreed with Drew and said she was ready to move on.
“I’m tired of seeing and hearing about garbage,” Drew added.
Administrator Johnson recommended the action the board take this week is to move forward with locating a site for a fifth manned garbage site or if by Sept. 1 one is not located to proceed with constructing one on State Park Road. He said the board could discuss if it wished to solicit proposals from Taylor and other firms and make a decision by the next meeting.
Commissioner Drew made a motion accordingly and it was seconded by Commissioner Ray Prince and passed 4-1 with only Commissioner Knight voting against, due to her opposition to putting the fifth site on State Park Road.
“We have been looking for some property, about two acres, that we can buy. We are not looking for anyone to give us the land, but we aren’t interested in paying too much for it either. We will do whatever we need to make it nice and concealed by planting vegetation. Whatever we need to do. It will be fenced and well maintained like all our other manned sites. We just need to find a site,” Johnson said Tuesday.
The county administrator agreed that the county property on State Park Road was not ideal, but at this time it is the county’s only option.
“We would like to find a more centralized location closer to Whigham or something just west of Whigham,” Johnson said.