City increases yard waste fee, provides consumer protection

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The Griffin Board of Commissioners has approved changes to the city’s yard waste collection service that includes a price increase to $8.75 per month, while also now providing a measure of consumer protection.

The service will continue to be provided by Dependable Waste out of Pike County.

“We’re basically just amending the current contract, but they wanted a new contract, so we took the old contract and rather than amending it, we just updated it, so it is the same company. We just updated the current contract,” said Griffin City Manager Kenny Smith.

The contract does include some changes that officials believe will help resolve ongoing problems with the city’s yard waste collection service, but Smith said the troubling issues generally arose due to the prior lack of enforcement of the city’s code.

“We had minor changes, but the problem is we really hadn’t been enforcing what the code said. We just picked up pretty much any yard that was out there, so we’ve got to more strictly enforce the current code, but we did change the pile size. We did change the fact you now have to bag grass clippings. You have to bag grass clippings, but leaves are optional. If you bag leaves, they are not considered in the pile size. If you do not bag leaves – if you just rake them to the curb – they are considered in the pile size, but clippings do have to be bagged because that was what was tearing up people’s yards. Trying to get the little fine grass clippings – trying to get those up was tearing up people’s yards, so we felt it better that they be bagged so they can just pick them a bag and throw it on the truck,” Smith said.

This service will continue to be provided on a biweekly basis.

Complaints about this service from Griffin residents has become commonplace, with the most frequent being the requirement to pay for service that was undependable due to yard debris not being picked up for prolonged periods of time.

The new contract does contain language that will provide a measure of consumer protection against that practice.

“It will be picked up on your pickup date. If for some reason it’s not picked up or they get behind, they have 24 hours to get it picked up,” Smith said. “If yard waste is not picked up within that 24-hour window that they have if they miss it, then they will credit us for that week – in other words, a half a month pick up – and we’ll in turn credit the customer.”

Smith then stated his views on the challenges presented by providing this service that has led to complaints.

“When we were doing it with a city service with our own employees, we couldn’t do it on schedule and efficient, either, because the task is just that giant of a task because you never know how much yard waste is going to be there. Certain times of the year – certain seasons – everybody almost had something out. Certain seasons, nobody hardly had anything out, so it’s not a predictable service that you can schedule manpower, schedule equipment because you never know what you’re going to be faced with until you get out there that day, so we couldn’t do it efficiently,” he said. “The company (Dependable Waste) said that they could at X amount of dollars, and through the course of the last two years, three years, whatever it’s been since we contracted that out, they found out they couldn’t do it either at that price, that you’ve got to have more manpower and more equipment in order to pick it up and pick it up on schedule. So, that was the dilemma that we were in, so we said what is it going to take because people were complaining saying it wasn’t getting picked up, it wasn’t getting picked up on time, so we went back to the company and said what changes do we need to make in order for you to be successful, and this is what we negotiated to come up with – changing the pile size, enforcing the ordinance and this is what it’s going to cost for us to put the manpower and equipment that we need out there to get the job done and get it done on time.”

In order for Dependable Waste to purchase the necessary equipment and provide the additional manpower, the city approved a rate increase of $2 per household.

“I think they’re going to add at least one more truck and crew. That would be a question for the company. I don’t really care what they purchase or how many people they have to have as long as the job gets done,” Smith said.

Asked if he believes this, along with the refund of fees if yard debris is not picked up as the contract now mandates, will alleviate customer complaints, Smith said, “We hope so.”

He added that city officials are also working to provide residents with information pertaining to their responsibilities as defined in city code.

“We’re doing a pretty encompassing educational blitz to make sure people understand what the code requires because we see everything out there. We see furniture mixed in with yard waste. We see leaves and limbs mixed in together. We see rocks and bricks mixed in with yard waste. We see commodes sit by the side of the road. We see everything, so the point I would like to get across is that people need to pay attention to the information that we are putting out, and if their yard waste is not put out in accordance with the rules, it won’t get picked up,” Smith said. “They will not get a credit if it’s not picked up unless it’s in accordance strictly with the code. That’s the only way we can make this work.”

Advertisements

Comments

  1. Honestlyv@aol.com says:

    We don’t need to raise city of griffin bills this is a big deterrent for people looking. To purchase homes services by the city of griffin

  2. JOHN ROURKE says:

    WE ARE NEW TO THE AREA AND HAVE HAD ZERO ISSUES AND THINK THE SERVICE IS WONDERFUL. THEY HAVE ALWAYS DONE A GREAT JOB FOR US. THANK YOU GUYS AND KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK! THE ROURKE’S AT
    609 HALE AVE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: