Augusta Democrats trash idea of reducing pickups

RICHMOND COUNTY

Augusta voters concerned about pungent odors made it clear Tuesday that garbage collection should remain twice a week.

Sixty-one percent, or 4,829, of the 7,918 registered voters who voted in the Democratic primary were not in favor of decreasing trash pickup from twice to once per week, according to the party's straw poll questionnaire.

L.C. Myles, the vice chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party, said he suggested posing the question because people in his neighbor- hood are concerned about garbage collection.

Augusta Solid Waste Director Mark Johnson has met with the Fairington/Town and Country Neighborhood Association and other county neighborhood organizations about the prospect of weekly garbage collection.

"The discussion generated most consternation," Myles said. "The garbage smells bad enough as it is."

Johnson said the option is one of several he plans to propose to the Augusta Commission in coming weeks to cut solid waste costs.

Currently, customers receive trash pickup twice a week and recycling, bulk and yard waste pickup once a week. He plans to propose three options: keeping collection services the same; offering all collection services once per week; or having garbage collection once a week, recycling and yard waste every other week and bulk pickup by request.

"There's been support both for and against it," Johnson said. "The question becomes: Are we paying for convenience or necessity? Convenience is nice, but what should government provide as base service?"

Lowell Greenbaum, the chairman of the local party, said he had not expected the trash pickup question would be answered by every Democrat who voted Tuesday.

"We're delighted that they expressed themselves so clearly," he said. "They're happy with the way things are. They don't want the city smelling."

Myles said he plans to present the poll results to commissioners in hopes of influencing their decision on Johnson's proposal.

"I'm hoping the commissioners are responsive, because many of them are up to be re-elected," he said. "These are the people who show up to polls. The real voters have spoken."

More