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Chase City Council voices opposition to Thornton’s contract

The vote was four in favor, and none opposed. Council members Marshall Whitaker and Vice-Mayor Lisa Gillispie were absent from the meeting.

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South Hill outsources garbage pickups

SoVaNow.com / October 19, 2011
After months of study, South Hill Town Council has agreed to outsource its residential garbage collection and recycling to Waste Industries of Chesapeake, starting next calendar year.

Town Manager Kim Callis said the monthly fee for garbage would increase from $10.00 to $13.00 but would include recycling, a service not currently offered by the town. Garbage collection would still occur one time per week, while recycling would occur every other week. The town would continue to provide grass/leaf collection and hard trash collection services.

Recycling has not been available in the past, according to Callis, because for South Hill to provide the service “the [monthly garbage collection] cost would more than double to pick up garbage and offer recycling. It didn’t make sense.”

Waste Industries will supply each residential customer, at no cost, two residential rollout containers — one for garbage collection, and one for recycling. Residents who need additional containers will be charged $7.00 per month for garbage containers or $3 per month for recycling containers.

The town initially considered outsourcing its commercial garbage collection service when it became apparent that a commercial garbage truck needed replacing. But Callis said the rise in rates would be too great to justify the move.

“To outsource the commercial customers with dumpsters with the same level of service the Town currently provides, the rate would increase up to 63 percent,” he said.

While Callis and his staff rejected this idea for now, the Town is encouraging Waste Industries to independently contact commercial customers.

Callis pointed out several benefits from outsourcing trash collection, not the least of which is a projected $190,000 savings to the Town. Also, the Waste Industries-provided containers “look much cleaner and [make it] much easier to collect [trash],” he said.

Tipping fees at the county landfill should go down since recyclable items will go instead to a facility in Raleigh, NC, Callis added.Finally, the number of town employees assigned to trash collection is expected to go down.

One Waste Industries employee, using a Waste Industries truck, could perform what is currently a three-person operation. Three positions in the Town would be eliminated, reducing expenses by $190,000 per year.

Callis did not anticipate any of the workers becoming unemployed, “The contractor needs a driver that knows the route, and the other two employees would be offered other positions within the Town,” he said.

Town employees who collect commercial garbage and brush and grass clippings are not affected by the changes.

Residents will be able to choose a 35-gallon, 65-gallon, or 95-gallon receptacle for their garbage, but would receive a 65-gallon recycling container. Recyclable items include aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars (green, brown and clear), metal cans, some plastic beverage containers, newspapers, magazines, junk mail, cardboard and paper. While South Hill residents are encouraged to recycle, there are no penalties for not doing so.

In response to questions from the public, Callis said, the current garbage truck would be sold once Waste Industries takes over collection. Proceeds from the sale will go to the general fund.

A special application is available for disabled or handicapped individuals who need assistance moving their garbage/recycling containers. In addition, the public may continue taking recyclable items to county convenience centers.

Callis asked Town Council on Tuesday to approve a 5-year contract with Waste Industries, with future rate increases tied to the consumer price index. If, however, outsourcing becomes cost prohibitive, Callis said the Town would re-evaluate whether to continue the service.

Council member Chad Barbour expressed concern that the proposed contract did not have a cap, but in the end, he and the rest of Council voted to contract with Waste Industries for residential curbside garbage collection and recycling services.

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