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New garbage collection system not going smoothly

Thursday, June 6, 2013 9:49 PM
Last updated Friday, June 7, 2013 4:45 AM
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Augusta’s first few days under a new solid-waste collection contract haven’t been easy. The transition to once-a-week garbage, recycling and yard waste collection has seen more than a few missteps.

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One day after their pickup day, bins still sit on a McDowell Street curb.
Trash is supposed to be picked up once a week.   SUSAN McCORD/STAFF
SUSAN McCORD/STAFF
One day after their pickup day, bins still sit on a McDowell Street curb. Trash is supposed to be picked up once a week.

McDowell Street resident Anthony Cashin had his bins and yard waste at the curb Wednes­day, his new service day. The trash still hadn’t been picked up Thursday afternoon.

“There’s yard waste all up and down the street,” he said. “It looks like all they got is the recycling.”

Around the corner on Monte Sano Avenue, garbage was collected, while recycling was left behind.

The city’s 311 service line, expanded to include former solid-waste customer service workers, has been so swamped with calls that it’s hiring three temporary workers to assist, Manager Kellie Walker said.

She said staffers are able to answer only about half of the nearly 1,200 calls coming in daily since Mon­day. Call volume in last week has almost tripled, she said.

Walker estimated that 80 percent of the calls since Monday involved the collection changes.

“We’ve gotten calls from entire streets,” she said.

Staffers at 311 want to give customers a place to provide feedback; they just don’t have time to talk to all callers.

“Everyone is so upset, at least we could answer the phone,” Walker said. “Your heart goes out to them; you just want them to get it right.”

Solid Waste Director Mark Johnson reported the city’s GPS system placed a truck within 20 yards of Cashin’s block, then acknowledged that the tracking system needs some work.

Every customer formerly served by Augusta Disposal has a different hauling company that will need to learn the nuances of each household, Johnson said. Advanced Disposal and Inland Services are the primary haulers.

“You couple that with brand-new trucks, new drivers, a new system and customers that are learning their new day of the week, this is a monumental undertaking, and in the grand scheme of things it’s working out pretty good for the number of things that changed on a single day,” Johnson said.

Other changes include the trucks’ robotic arms that raise and empty all garbage containers. Previously, some of the haulers did it by hand, Johnson said.

The city continues to fine-tune a system of tracking recycling containers that records each time a customer’s container is emptied. Each instance earns the customer points to be used in a new program called Recycling Perks. The perks include discounts at locally owned businesses.

The Augusta Commission has other ideas.

Commissioner Wayne Guil­foyle had several changes made that help rural residents with homes far off the road.

Commissioner Mar­ion Williams wants the entire contract scrapped, in part because it dropped several small haulers that had cleaned the city since consolidation.

Williams’ idea is scheduled for discussion during a closed-door meeting with attorneys Monday.

He said Coleman Sanita­tion, one of the small haulers dropped from the program, was included in one of the primary haulers’ bids, then was left out of the final negotiated contract.

“If we don’t do this right, we’re going to get sued,” Williams said.

Commissioner Bill Lock­ett scoffed at the idea of redoing the contract now, although he voted against it last year. He said that with such a large transition, glitches should be expected.

“When you’re doing something new, there’s always going to be some obstacles,” he said.

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wcr250
71
Points
wcr250 06/06/13 - 10:40 pm
13
1
Fools

Nobody asked the city to take over this service anyway.
They need to get out of the garbage business,actually they just need to get out.Take Johnson when they go.

Little Lamb
46405
Points
Little Lamb 06/06/13 - 10:39 pm
3
3
Win Some, Lose Some

From the story:

Commissioner Marion Williams . . . said waste hauler Coleman Sanitation, one of the small haulers dropped from the program, was included in one of the primary haulers’ bids then left out of the final negotiated contract.

Come on, now. Every single person who used to have a piece of the pie should not be guaranteed a seat at the new table. Coleman Sanitation probably did not have enough capitalization to buy those new trucks powered by Mark Johnson's landfill gas.

Little Lamb
46405
Points
Little Lamb 06/06/13 - 10:42 pm
9
1
Wisdom

wrc250 has posted one of the wisest comments in a long time. Allow me to paraphrase:

Augusta City Government needs to get out of the garbage business. Actually, they just need to get out!

Thank you, wrc250, and welcome to the forum.

Riverman1
84950
Points
Riverman1 06/07/13 - 01:33 am
7
2
Waste Management

Waste management is infiltrated by certain types of "organizations" with political connections all over the country.

nocnoc
43456
Points
nocnoc 06/07/13 - 05:26 am
5
2
No Fan here

1st of all, anyone who has read my Garbage RANTS knows I NEVER did and still do not support the process used to take control of the Garbage hauling by only of 6 of our 10 commissioners. This is why tax increases need to be recommended by 70 or 80% the ARC Commissioners and the voters approve them. The almost airtight Trash contract screws us for years to come unless we are willing to eat millions in start up costs and lawsuits.

From the day they put the Trash Tax in place the ultimate goal has been to reach this point. The point being, eliminate the small local haulers, cut the services amount and bring in the Major haulers. Some of you have read where I called this a Cookie-Cutter plan used by the Major haulers over and over. Google it and see for yourself.

With that said
Monday my well announced pickup day arrived.
My trash was picked up.
Why? I read the advance warning notice and used it.

Does the idea of indirectly paying the Mob to haul my trash appeal to me NO. But my government reps' sold me out until we decide to move. Which our family has decided to do once certain issues are overcome.

My beloved Augusta is dying,
Consolidation is not working other than allowing downtown to milk Richmond Co. for life support for 16 years. But even after 16 years of a 1 way tax funnel Downtown is little better off than before.

Now more and more taxes are being added and Richmond Co. is starting to run dry of taxpayers.

The only hope for the South Side, south of Bobby Jones, is De-Consolidation, or apply for annexation into another town, or for communities to create their own towns.

After 16 years The County has never seen Tax sharing Quid pro quo and likely never will.

GnipGnop
12324
Points
GnipGnop 06/07/13 - 07:21 am
8
2
SO let me get this right....

The pick up was cut in half...the rate stayed the same and yet they can't figure out how to get people's trash can because of a GPS glitch? BULL!!! This is why Augusta will never be this forward moving place that we keeep hearing every day....to many hands in the cookie jar and to much "what can you do for me?" politicians. Seems they all graduated with the Charles Walker degree in public service...and graduated with honors too!!

american rose
245
Points
american rose 06/07/13 - 07:36 am
8
0
They came down picked up the

They came down picked up the garbage on one side of the street, but did not turn around and come back and pick up the other side. How can that be a glitch. Sounds like somebody is missing a little common sense.

soapy_725
43686
Points
soapy_725 06/07/13 - 08:03 am
1
0
Another PRE PLANNED CRISIS
Unpublished

Another grab at more power. Watch closely. It is on the way. Another massive Garbage Collection Bureaucracy will emerge, a la, the RCBOE. Probably with its own police force and a garbage czar.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 06/07/13 - 08:26 am
3
2
Only in government

... could cutting the workload in half result in cascading failure.

john
1000
Points
john 06/07/13 - 09:00 am
2
1
what a mess

Im shocked, truely. Well said wcr250.

noxiousfumes
449
Points
noxiousfumes 06/07/13 - 09:18 am
3
2
The folks that run the

The folks that run the landfill and the major haulers are laughing all the way to the bank. I'm sure a little light in that direction will show how many palms are getting greased out of this cozy arrangement. Augusta could teach Chicago a few things about corruption.

deestafford
27879
Points
deestafford 06/07/13 - 09:24 am
3
2
I've been to a goat roping

and it was better organized than this. I think the driving factor was the methane running trucks so someone could appear to be "progressively green". It takes no genius to call the drivers in, give them a map with their streets color coded by day to be picked up and say, "Get to work." Anybody in this outfit ever hear of a thing called a dress rehearsal?
Oh, by the way, I did follow the instructions and the trash cans are sitting on all of my street two days beyond the pickup day.
Question, if the trucks ain't on the streets picking up trash, where are they?
This maybe the only time I ever say this, "I agree with Marion Williams."

dichotomy
33557
Points
dichotomy 06/07/13 - 09:25 am
3
1
"The point being, eliminate

"The point being, eliminate the small local haulers, cut the services amount and bring in the Major haulers. Some of you have read where I called this a Cookie-Cutter plan used by the Major haulers over and over."

Just remember....the questionable characters who control this industry can only execute this plan over and over when they have compensated collaborators on the INSIDE of government.

The same way the Heery gets and keeps it's way too lucrative contract......Alvin....Corey.....????? $200 an hour for Heery...about twice what it ought to be.....$310 a year for once a week garbage pick-up......about twice what it ought to be. All while Alvin and Corey are singing take me out to the ball game.....and who knows who else and what else and from how many sources.

RMSHEFF
16203
Points
RMSHEFF 06/07/13 - 10:00 am
3
3
Perfect example for less government

The property I own in Richmond county generates VERY little trash and trash pick is a VERY large part of my property tax bill. Why should I not be allowed to choose the service that best meets my needs and benefit from this savings. This is a one size fits all approach which is all the government knows. Very inefficient and costly. I pay more so some can pay less....share the wealth! I think Larry, Moe and Curly could do a better job.

Soggy_Bottom
45
Points
Soggy_Bottom 06/07/13 - 10:06 am
1
4
Gar-Bage

As a new recipient of the consolidated Gar-bage service, I see several issues that, combined, has created a general mess.

1. Consolidation - The city of Augusta has consumed the county so that a county no longer exists. A very big undertaking, that in my opinion, was overly ambitious.

2. A new sanitation system - A new system, whatever it may be, is always hard at the start, especially when trial runs have not been adequately performed. Even then, glitches will be found and the system will need to be fine tuned. People have to understand that. Coupled with the way it was communicated to the public (or not in this case) bad feelings are inevitable.

I had a great garbage pickup service: once a week, no recycle, and cheaper than what is offered currently, but dependable and established.

I don't mind the new service: still once a week, but recyclables added, "green" trucks, etc. Forced upon me, yes, but if it was previously offered, I would accept.

Have I had problems? Yes. Email was not answered. Requested a recycle bin - not received (acknowledged by phone that they were behind in distribution.) Hey, they are new, give them a chance.

Political crap? Isn't it all about politics?

My vote over all, let Augusta be Augusta and Richmond County be Richmond County.

Susan McCord
127
Points
Susan McCord 06/07/13 - 10:54 am
1
0
For more information

Sorry these links didn't get posted. You can call 311 with garbage questions but expect to hold.
The new solid waste website is here
http://www.augustasolidwaste.com/
You can sign up for the recycling perks program here
http://www.recyclingperks.com/

PhiloPublius
386
Points
PhiloPublius 06/07/13 - 10:58 am
4
2
Georgia residents need to get over themselves

If you generate so much waste that you can't survive with 1 pickup per week then you need to take a step back and evaluate your lifestyle...

Those of us in SC don't seem to have a problem with it, and we can always go to the drop off center if we really don't want trash lying around.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 06/07/13 - 11:08 am
0
0
I'm in North Augusta... my
Unpublished

I'm in North Augusta... my pick-up is on Monday's and when there's a holiday on Monday, they pick up Tuesday. They have one truck to come pick up yard waste, another for other junk, and the main truck that comes and picks up your household trash. They run like clockwork even on a holiday week. Perhaps Augusta needs to learn from North Augusta.

Little Lamb
46405
Points
Little Lamb 06/07/13 - 11:14 am
2
0
Links from Susan

Ms. McCord, you are helpful when you post links to related stories at the top of your news stories. I appreciate it very much.

As I have said before, you have a thankless job having to sit through commission meetings and committee meetings. It's got to be tough to translate commission-speak into plain English. Thanks for doing it!

Darby
26087
Points
Darby 06/07/13 - 11:15 am
2
0
The Commission needs

time to fine tune the system.

Maybe the commission needs a little (or a lot of) fine tuning...

Susan McCord
127
Points
Susan McCord 06/07/13 - 11:19 am
2
0
Thanks Lamb!

Always appreciate a kind word

dichotomy
33557
Points
dichotomy 06/07/13 - 11:46 am
3
0
"Those of us in SC don't seem

"Those of us in SC don't seem to have a problem with it"

And how much are you being charged for once a week service? Just curious. Most of us are not as upset about once a week service as we are at them STILL charging us the TWICE A WEEK rates to fund CNG garbage trucks, a CNG filling station, and a PROFIT making revenue stream for the county at the expense of overpriced garbage service being placed on our PROPERTY TAX BILL and still maintaining the status quo of the suburban and rural property owners SUBSIDIZING garbage service to the "old city" residents.

GnipGnop
12324
Points
GnipGnop 06/07/13 - 12:19 pm
2
0
14 Dollars a month, 2 dollars more if you want a yard cart

It is on the water bill...so the person living in the house is the one paying the bill and if the house is not resided in and the water is turned off they generate no trash, hence no bill.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 06/07/13 - 12:27 pm
4
0
Stop talking trash and just pick it up
Unpublished

Johnson can take his perks and give tem to the IRS, just pick up the garbage and stop trying to coverup the mess johnson and the commissioners have created. You have not decreased the taxes but have decreased the pickups which results in a 100% increase in cost. Do not call me because I don't want to hear your garbage and I will dump my garbage at the courthouse steps if it is not picked up. The citizens deserve better from the city government and when your trash is not picked up, the city should refund 1/52 of what you pay a year.

Fiat_Lux
15696
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/07/13 - 02:09 pm
5
0
Some really good comments

I have nothing to add yet, as today is my day. No results yet. If my full trash bin is still by the road come Monday, I may wheel it down to the marble palace and leave the contents.

Note to self: sort garbage to remove any identifiers and dump it at night while wearing ski mask. Cover license plate and vin.

RMSHEFF
16203
Points
RMSHEFF 06/07/13 - 02:31 pm
2
0
The entire system, both

The entire system, both pick-up and the land fill should be privatized.

tgentry
231
Points
tgentry 06/07/13 - 02:32 pm
1
0
Garbage

Before the new Garbage Plan, My trash was picked up on Mondays and Thursdays. The letter sent out in the water bill saying the new changes are going to take effect on Weds June 5th. I had my can at the curd on Monday June the 3rd. My thinking was simple. They would use the new trucks and crews to pick up my trash on Monday the 3rd as a trial run since the 5th would start the new contract.

What was I thinking? Trash can stayed at the curb for 3 days. No service on Monday or Tuesday. Now I have to actually set my alarm clock to get up in the mornings. I used to be awaken by the trash trucks at 6:00 am on trash days. My trash was finally picked up around 4:00 pm on Weds. I didn't have any yard waste or recyclables thank god. I did leave out and was going up Wrightsboro Road and was stuck in traffic because they where still picking up trash after 6:00 pm.

LillyfromtheMills
13521
Points
LillyfromtheMills 06/07/13 - 07:51 pm
0
0
Ya ll are getting trashed

Cancel the contract - this is nuts!

Soggy_Bottom
45
Points
Soggy_Bottom 06/07/13 - 10:56 pm
0
0
Garbage

I can say this, my trash was picked up as stated this past Monday. Still no recycle bin. Lets see what this Monday brings!

janderson1945
1845
Points
janderson1945 06/07/13 - 11:41 pm
0
0
Trash Service not starting off right....

We use to have trash service Mon & Thu. No service Mon due to the holiday and of course none on Thursday as our new day assigned was Friday. Well, after 3 calls today, trash is all up and down our street and it appears that none of us had any picked up. As for the phone calls to 311, i feel bad for them but no help at all whatsoever.

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