Peachtree City Council considers no-choice trash monopoly for residents

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City Manager Jon Rorie says trash trucks from 3 companies put too much wear and tear on streets —

Peachtree City officials expect to ask the current three licensed residential trash haulers within a couple of weeks to bid on becoming the only company allowed to pick up household garbage from curbside cans. Residents won’t have a choice of companies, and participation will be mandatory, officials said.

City Manager Jon Rorie told City Council members Feb. 21 that requests for bids are expected to go out somewhere around March 7. The city will review and likely award a single bidder by May, he said, with monopoly service expected to begin by Oct. 1 this year.

The idea of a single-source supplier for what’s called roll-off service has been discussed at various times since last spring. While there has been no official vote by the council to do away with a choice of garbage services by every residence within Peachtree City, neither has the council told staff to stop moving toward a bidding process, apparently to come during March.

Rorie cited increasing costs of street repairs for city streets, a problem he said is made worse by the fleets of heavy garbage hauling trucks operated by three competing vendors. In essence, trucks operated by three companies pass over the same city streets, adding to the potential wear and tear, Rorie said. He argues that one company’s trucks would do less damage, even though they will have to pick up the same tonnage of garbage that three companies share right now.

The chosen hauler would be allowed to raise current rates, officials said. Back-door service would be available to those households with residents unable to push the trash cans out to curbside.

There was some discussion about the more than 10 companies that currently provide commercial trash pickup, involving different kinds of trucks that handle large dumpsters. Officials took no action on that type of service.

13 COMMENTS

  1. We generate a fixed amount of trash in this town, which means the same number of trips are going to be needed to accomplish the same job, regardless if it’s one company operating many trucks, or a few companies operated less trucks each. The statement that “one company’s trucks would do less damage, even though they will have to pick up the same tonnage of garbage that three companies share right now” is patently rediculous, since the methodologies for estimating road damage are based entirely on axle loading. Whether that axle loading is distributed across multiple companies operating a combined fleet of trucks or a single company operating that fleet, the effect is the same. Reference: http://nvfnorden.org/lisalib/getfile.aspx?itemid=261

    Incidentally, heavy trucks are already assessed an additional tax which is used by the State of Georgia to help fund local grants for road improvements. So the damage is already accounted for in the funding of roads locally and across the State.

    If the City wanted to encourage low impact road use, this is the easily the least effective way to accomplish that. Better ideas include:

    – Incentivise trash services to switch to smaller lighter trucks. (Pollard already uses these trucks, but Waste Management and Republic do not.)
    – Expand recycling points and provide incentives for people to drop off their recycleables in order to reduce residential trash volumes.
    – Levy a fee on households that produce large volumes of trash. Tier rates so that people are encouraged to reduce trash generation. No household should actually need more than one big trash can.

    • Hey rediculous Andrew: Monday one truck runs down our street and picks up all but two houses. One trip. Thursday another truck comes and picks up the other two houses. Thats two trips that could have been accomplished in one trip. Now if you add another day and another company and another house on our street – thats three different trips that could have been picked up in one trip. At least that’s how they have been doing it in my subdivision for the last 15 years. Unless your neighbors have some kind of special garbage, a one service company would eliminate trips down my street.

      • By that logic let’s go ahead and eliminate all but one grocery store in this town. There should be but one hardware store, one garden center, one clothing store, one book store, etc, etc. Let’s eliminate all consumer choice for goods and services because you don’t see the need for it, and we’ll just forget about the lower service levels and higher costs that are intrinsically linked to monopolies and sole source providers. (In fact, we can go ahead and scale back all the retail outlets and attendant tax revenue and job creation, and go with just Wal-Mart and Home Depot. That’s all anyone needs.)

        Oh, and by the way… you’ve taken one truck and tripled the impact. Facially, it’s a false economy. But on further analysis, that one truck is now stopping and accelerating at every house, imparting a dynamic load to the pavement, and accelerating the rate of road wear. So it would actually do more damage to roads.

        • Don’t think you can eliminate the stopping and accelerating at every house – unless you suggest everyone roll their garbage cans to one location. Maybe a community dumpster with a security key on it? You could just about eliminate all your stores as you suggest – most folk order online anyways. Of course that increases the use of roads when Amazon and UPS are arriving at your house everyday.

        • Since when do grocery store delivery trucks use residential streets?

          It’s fine to disagree, but ignoring the reason for looking at a possible change does your argument zero good. The fact is it removes about 2/3rds of the mileage of the heavy garbage trucks on the residential streets. That saves money in the long run.

          IF you think service will be reduced, that’s another argument altogether. But don’t use false premises to try and convince otherwise.

          • Point in fact, Amazon Fresh, Prime Now, Uber Eats… not to mention dry goods commonly delivered by FedEx or UPS.

            But that was not what was said. If you’re going to contend that it is a sufficient excuse to reduce consumer choice by granting monopolies in order to prolong infrastructure service life, then you should beware the logical consequence of such technocratic musings.

            Speaking of false premises… mileage has nothing to do damage to streets. Traffic engineers use Axle Weight Per Ton (AWT) to gauge the damage trucks do, and there is a difference in how AWT affects street surfaces based on static loading or dynamic loading. I live in a cul de sac, which would see the most damage because all three trucks that come down my street impart an extreme dynamic load when they back up. And in 12 years, the street has remained undamaged and has not needed repair. So there is in fact no fatual nor empirical support for this idea that granting monopoly to a single source provider will save the roads any significant wear and tear.

          • Incidentally, if there were support for heavy garbage trucks doign significant enough damage to the streets to justify their regulation… there are lighter garbage trucks available. Pollard Sanitation uses them, and in addition to being quieter, they’re absolutely adorable.

          • I didn’t mention grocery stores – you did. Your static and dynamic attention span needs work.

  2. I agree with Phil. Taking away a choice that we have today is not good…

    Let’s not make this another Wolf Creek Lodge situation.

    “Residents won’t have a choice of companies, and participation will be mandatory, officials said.” – Should never happen in PTC!

  3. This would be a mistake. Without competition and choice there is no incentive to deliver good service, as the customer has nowhere else to go. Wait till your bill is screwed up and you want to switch providers – only to realize you can’t. Additionally the article even states that the cost for the service will go up.

    The cost of the street repairs has less to do with the number of garbage companies & is more due to the streets that are old. In any event how does going from going from 3 providers to 1 lower the impact on the streets – they still have to pickup the same amount of garbage. While there may be some overlap as the current trucks bypass houses that they do not pickup from, they new system will require (1) More trips to the dump and/or (2) Larger garbage trucks – which will cause greater wear and tear on the roads.

    • Do you not think the majority of the weight of the garbage trucks is the truck itself? It would cut the wear and tear on the roads for sure.

      I see no problem with at least exploring costs/benefits etc…might even be able to get some yard debris collection out of the deal.

      • The costs are already accounted for – every one of those truck, indeed EVERY truck used in the State of Georgia over a certain size, except those used in ‘interstate commerce’, are assessed a Heavy Vehicle Highway User Impact Fee of $50 to $100 annually. This goes into the State’s fund for roads and highways, from which funds are apportioned to local governments either for roadway improvements or expansions through the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants.

        This is not a reasonable justification for imposing a monopoly system,