Allied Waste may raise cost of garbage service

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 8, 2005

The possibility of a rate increase in the monthly garbage services from BFI/Allied Waste was a major topic of discussion at Thursday evening’s workshop meeting of the Butler County Commission.

Shane Harris, general manager of Allied Waste, told the commission that the contract renewal for Butler County residents’ garbage services would expire Dec. 31, 2005.

If the commission voted to renew the contract, Harris said that there would be the possibility of an approximately $3 monthly rate increase.

“The increase in gas prices is only one component for this rate hike,” Harris told the commission. “There’s been an increase in steel prices, an increase in employee benefits and insurance, plus an increase in liability insurance rates on the trucks.”

Harris said that with more homes to serve in a rural county such as Butler, there was also more wear and tear on the tires and garbage trucks.

The current rate for garbage services outside the city limits is approximately $11.87, according to Harris. The possible rate increase could reach $15.08 if the commission renews the contract with Allied Waste on Jan. 1, 2006.

According to Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams, the Butler County Health Department has identified about 300 people outside of the Greenville city limits who receive free waste removal services from Allied Waste. Harris said this is another factor that is causing the company to lose money when it comes to residential services.

“We have to look out for the citizens of Butler County,” Commissioner Frank Hickman said. “Your company understood the rural concentration of this county when you took up this contract.”

Harris said that because of so many factors involved, the increase was minimal and overdue from the company’s standpoint.

Butler County Cooperative Extension Agent Anthony Pinkston told the commission about a local medical reserve core unit grant that the cooperative extension office received from the Alabama Dept. of Public Health. The money was given to 12 rural counties to train and mobilize volunteers in natural disaster emergency needs such as CPR, first aid and crowd control.

According to Pinkston, the money was not from a matching grant, so the commission was not being asked for any funds. He wanted a letter of support from the commission saying that this grant was a good thing for the citizens of Butler County. The commission gave its approval.

Bob Luman, Butler County Emergency Management Agency director, brought a resolution to the commission about the National Incident Management System, or NIMS, which must be implemented within the next 12 months in order for Butler County to continue to receive FEMA funds. The NIMS system is a computerized training program that would teach all emergency personnel the same modes of communication. This would include all police and fire personnel as well as city council members, county commissioners, E-911 dispatchers, and others. Luman said that the Butler County EMA would be setting up the local NIMS structure.

Butler County Jail Administrator Al McKee presented the

commission with several jail statistics from Jan. 2003 to Sept. 2005. McKee said that the average daily population in the Butler County jail from Jan. to Dec. of 2003 was 30-32 inmates. That number has nearly doubled in 2005 to a daily average of 47-55 inmates. With a jail capacity of only 52, McKee reported that the highest capacity of inmates held at the jail at one time was 67.

“We have to work together to build this jail,” Chairman McWilliams said.

“I appreciate all of the work that is being done to get the new facility built,” Butler County Sheriff Diane Harris said. “We’ve looked over the plans. There may be some places we can cut out in order to save some money.”

Harris said that she would be touring the Lowndes County jail with Sheriff Willie Vaughner.

The county commission announced that the Butler County courthouse would be closed Friday, November 11 in observance of Veterans’ Day.

The regular scheduled meeting of the Butler County Commission will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 10 in county commission chambers.