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Top Story: New garbage changes got off to rocky start

Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 5:31 PM
Last updated 11:01 PM
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If they noticed nothing else about city government this year, one thing likely caught the attention of nearly 60,000 Augusta households: the rocky change from semiweekly garbage pickup to weekly in June.

Associated issues – missing garbage and recycling containers, weeks of missed pickups, overturned cans, lids left open, unwanted mandatory service and a fee that did not decrease with the frequency – sent many frustrated home­owners to report the upheaval in their weekly routines.

Augusta 311 Director Kelli Walker, whose department was created from the former Augusta Cares in part to handle the transition, said the office was receiving nearly 1,200 calls a day, most of them related to garbage pickup, during the first week of service.

Environmental Services Director Mark Johnson initially warned that educating residents about their new service day was the biggest obstacle, but city officials later acknowledged other challenges.

Several local minority-owned waste haulers were left out of the new garbage contract, but one of two new primary haulers, Advanced Disposal, began entirely new routes June 3. There appeared to be no dress rehearsal.

“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,” Johnson said during the first week of changed service.

Augusta required haulers in the new contract to power trucks using the compressed natural gas the city sells. The trucks, an effort to reduce pollution, use robotic arms to empty containers and require only a single operator. That caused another unforeseen problem: lids left open on garbage containers.

“It hasn’t gone as smoothly as they thought it was going to,” Mayor Pro Tem Corey John­son said last week. His constituents in District 2 continue to report missed pickups, he said.

Augusta Commission member Joe Jackson said most, but not all, issues had been resolved. Phasing in the changes and allowing haulers to maintain previous routes, if they had them, might have helped, Jackson said.

“It’s like changing your mail route. When you get a different guy, he’s going to miss your house,” he said.

A bright side, Johnson said, is that residents are recycling more and taking advantage of Recycling Perks, an online service that rewards customers with coupons and discounts for recycling. Discounts available last week covered golf, ice skating, carpet cleaning, lawn care, restaurants and other goods and services.

ABOUT THE SERIES

SATURDAY: The merger of Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities became official in 2013, but not without its share of controversies.

SUNDAY: A federal judge ended the Richmond County school system’s desegregation order after 40 years.

MONDAY: Five members of Evans-based vein procedures company The Vein Guys, including co-founder Steven Roth, were killed in a Feb. 20 plane crash at Thomson-McDuffie County Airport.

TUESDAY: The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office wanted to address traffic concerns in 2013 with Operation Thunder, and it did, to the chagrin of many motorists.

TODAY: The city’s transition to once-a-week garbage, recycling and yard waste collection did not go smoothly.

THURSDAY: After a dozen years in the making, the Augusta Convention Center opened in February.

DEC. 27: Safety concerns after high-profile assaults and a proposed slum designation catapulted downtown Augusta back into the spotlight in 2013.

DEC. 28: Delays in consultations led to the deaths of three cancer patients at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.

DEC. 29: North Augusta officials approved a $144 million public-private development that would include a baseball stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets.

DEC. 30: Rain played havoc with farmers, event planners and others in record-setting fashion.

DEC. 31: After a year of discontent over his performance, Augusta Commission members fired longtime city Administrator Fred Russell in December.

Comments (9) Add comment
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dichotomy
37390
Points
dichotomy 12/24/13 - 06:51 pm
4
2
My lid gets left open EVERY

My lid gets left open EVERY week. It always has leaves or rain water or both in the bottom. Pain in the rear. What is the problem with closing the lids? The hauler I had before they changed the service NEVER left the lid open and picked up twice a week. Mark Johnson really screwed us on this deal and is continuing to do so with the price increases. And where is the money going they are making from the Compressed Natural Gas sales? Looks like THAT money should go to cut our garbage fees. Does it make sense that WE had to pay MORE so that THEY could MAKE money selling CNG?????

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 12/24/13 - 09:38 pm
5
2
Lets call it what it was

The Largest TAX INCREASE IN ARC without Voter Approval.

That put a number of LOCAL businesses out of Business and their employees.

A NON-VOTER Approved reduction in service.

A stinking Trash can next to my house for 6 days a week and flies in summer.

While increasing the property owner costs all so NATIONAL
TRASH COMPANY and some Political/Power brokers could funnel some $$$$.

Using the same greed driven process that Gwinnett Co. Used and eventually send a few county commissioners out on their tails and 2 to jail.

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 12/24/13 - 09:39 pm
4
2
BTW:Gwinnett only got exposed because

an outside media source and a few insiders that got overlooked.

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 12/24/13 - 09:54 pm
3
2
Gotta love....

How progressive Augusta is....cue the crickets....

david jennings
624
Points
david jennings 12/25/13 - 04:19 am
2
3
Well I like it

I'm happy with the service, no problems. I am determined to keep a thankful attitude going into the new year, quit gripeing and get thankful

corgimom
38280
Points
corgimom 12/25/13 - 07:22 am
3
4
I have similar trash service

I have similar trash service and yes, the lids are left open. Big deal. If water gets in it, I turn it over and it drains out. I don't consider that a major problem in the slightest.

soapy_725
44107
Points
soapy_725 12/25/13 - 08:24 am
1
0
changes got off to rocky start. Not for those counting the $$$$
Unpublished

changes got off to rocky start. Not for those counting the $$$$

soapy_725
44107
Points
soapy_725 12/25/13 - 08:26 am
1
0
soapy_725
44107
Points
soapy_725 12/25/13 - 08:28 am
1
0
Once a week private collection in CC is $16 per month. ARC can't
Unpublished

negotiate a better contract for 60,000 customers. BS and more BS. $$$

soapy_725
44107
Points
soapy_725 12/25/13 - 08:29 am
1
0
ARC is no longer being raped. Rape is not consensual.
Unpublished

ARC is no longer being raped. Rape is not consensual.

RunningMan
346
Points
RunningMan 12/25/13 - 10:05 am
0
6
I Agree DJ

There’s nothing wrong with the service in my area. It's all about change, and some folks just cannot deal with it. The servicing trucks in my area has an automatically lift to pick up the container which means the lid stays open when it's put back. No big deal just pouring the water out. Stop complaining about every little thing in life.

mdl1946
1205
Points
mdl1946 12/25/13 - 10:12 am
4
0
I have never heard about what the land fill charges for CNG or

do they even charge the county haulers.
Every thing about the ARC trash service is a rip-off ,if a private company operated the same way they would be put in jail.

Fawkes
79
Points
Fawkes 12/25/13 - 02:25 pm
3
0
They seem to miss the truck

They seem to miss the truck like people miss the gas station toilet. Threw out some busted glass, they emptied the trashcan now I have busted glass all on the ground.

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