Opp garbage debate continues

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 4, 2014


More than a year after a garbage debate began, Opp council members still are not in agreement on trash services.

During the Tuesday council meeting, a motion to buy a new garbage truck was approved despite opposition.

Councilwoman Mary Brundidge abstained from the vote, saying she needed more information to make a decision and councilman TD Morgan abstained in favor of using existing, older trucks.

“What’s the use in buying new equipment when the old one is working just fine?” Morgan said.

The proposed cost of a new truck is $116,000. Mayor John Bartholomew said this is a very good price and the cost will increase by the first of the year.

“If we want to stay in the garbage business, we need a new truck,” he said.

Before the purchase of a new truck on Aug. 22, the two existing trucks were both damaged at the same time.

Opp city planner Jason Bryan said a secondary truck in good condition is imperative in case the other truck needs repair. The secondary truck can take up the route.

Bryan said that the garbage trucks are probably the most overused pieces of equipment the city owns.

He also said that they estimate in three year’s time, one of the city’s garbage trucks will lift cans 1 million times.

One truck with a broken packer, Bryan said, would require between $1,500 and $3,000 in repairs depending on the extent of the damage. This truck was declared surplus and approved for sale in the last meeting.

Last year, there was much debate on whether to contract out the garbage services or to have the city stay in the “garbage business.”

Morgan said he is worried about the cost of a new truck and running more than one.

“The city cannot afford it,” Morgan exclaimed. “We don’t have the money to buy a new garbage truck.

“We used to run one garbage truck in the city of Opp. He’s (Bartholomew) running two.”

Bartholomew said previously that contracting out the services would save and generate the city revenue.

“The city could generate $106,000 a year in revenue where what we’re doing now is not making us any money,” he said previously.

Maintaining the trash business is not cost effective.

A new garbage can in Opp costs $55, according to Bryan.

“If you’re only charging $15 a month, then how long does it take to pay off the garbage can? That’s just the can itself.

“The cost of the trucks, labor and repairs, when added up, it’s still a loss doing it ourselves,” Bryan said.

Councilman Mike Booth voted in favor of buying a new garbage truck, but would be in favor of contracting out the service.

“I’d like to contract it out if I had anything to do with it,” Booth said. “It’s easier.”

City Clerk Connie Smith said GSP Marketing has agreed to hold the current price of the truck with the city’s purchase order.

However, she said the city is not obligated to purchase the truck.

The truck is expected to be included in the city’s budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which begins in October.