City to control Opp’s trash pickup

Published 11:26 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

Starting in 2009, the city of Opp will begin taking out its own trash in an effort to improve community morale and save money for areas of improvement throughout the city.

“We plan to enter the garbage disposal business on Jan.1,” said Don Childre, director of planning for the city of Opp. “We will provide a higher level of service and save some money on the side.”

Childre said garbage disposal is nothing new for Opp, which had successfully operated its own disposal business before bidding out to Waste Management approximately 12 years ago.

“We did this very successfully for a number of years,” Childre said. “The mayor at the time decided we should get out of the business and we accepted bids from three different companies to provide garbage collection service for the city.”

Childre said Opp accepted a bid from Waste Management, now Allied Waste, to collect the city’s garbage for $24,000 a month. Garbage collected from the city is transported to the Coffee County Landfill, which results in an additional tipping fee.

According to Childre, complaints of missed pickups, broken garbage canisters and other various problems led the city council to vote in favor of re-entering the garbage business.

“We started having trouble with the pickups,” he said. “We began receiving 70-80 calls a day of people’s garbage not being picked up, whole sections of town being skipped. Allied Waste rose to meet those complaints and reduced the number of complaints, but we still received five or more complaints a day concerning the service.”

According to Childre, the city has already paid $195,000 for a new garbage truck that has an estimated lifespan of five years.

Opp would pay, over those five years, an estimated $1.44 million for garbage collection under its current contract. The truck, which is equipped with a mechanized arm to retrieve canisters and can be operated by one person, will allow the city to save more than $500,000 during the same five-year period of operation.

“Garbage is kind of like sewage,” Childre said. “It is something people normally do not see or do not think about, but it is a costly element for any county or city.

“The mayor and council believed it was a good deal,” he added. “You can provide your own equipment, employ local people and provide services at a lower price. We want to provide better service for the community.”

Childre said residents currently pay $10 a month for garbage pickup. Residents would have received a substantial increase in the price of garbage disposal services, but Childre said the city’s entrance into the disposal business will allow extra savings and lower rates.