Peachtree City Council talks no-choice trash monopoly tonight

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Curbside garbage pickup. Photo/Shutterstock.
Curbside garbage pickup. Photo/Shutterstock.

Garbage meets the Council tonight at Peachtree City Hall.

On the agenda is a proposal that the city award a contract to one company for pick-up of all residential garbage from about 10,500 homes.

Why go to a mandatory, no-choice monopoly that all residents would be required to use?

The City Hall memo says the switch from a modified free market approach to a city-mandated single provider is needed “as a means of reducing resident costs, increasing services, and reducing the wear and tear of multiple trucks each week on our residential streets.”

The draft request for proposals would require each single family residence in the city to pay the price set by the winning bid, with the city taking a dollar from each invoice as a franchise fee.

Although the winning company will bill every customer, any non-payment resulting in cutoff of service will be reported to City Hall. Though the RFP doesn’t specify, presumably the city can pass an ordinance specifying what action the city will take against those who don’t pay their trash bills, up to and including city court penalties.

The city must approve any rate increases above the winning bid amount, plus fuel surcharges will be allowed, according to the draft RFP.

As part of its monopoly franchise, the city will require the winning bidder to pick up trash at nine city-owned locations at “no additional charge to the city.”

The proposed monopoly contract also goes into detail about what trash will and will not be allowed to be picked up.

The contract also requires the monopoly franchisee to “provide an internet/email based system for the communication of all service requests from the city’s customer service representatives to the contractor.” Whether that means the city will have to add additional staff to handle its monopoly garbage service is not spelled out.

Currently, residents can choose among three different companies, according to the city’s website: Pollard Residential Waste Services, Republic Services (incorporating Allied Waste, Allsouth Robertson, BFI, EPI and Environmental Partners) and Waste Industries (incorporating CLM, Cardinal Sanitation, Dependable Waste Services, Integrated Waste Solutions, Raintree Sanitation, Titan and Waste Management).

The quarterly base rate for Pollard is $49, for Republic $52.50 and for Waste Industries $46.

Prior to 2009, the city had no part in which companies offered their services to residents. “In 2009, the Mayor and Council approved contracts with four sanitation companies to provide residential curbside garbage and recycling collection,” according to the city website.

Now, in 2019, the city indicates it wants to winnow that number down to one.

Even with the current three company triopoly, Peachtree City residents can choose to dispose of their own garbage at the county landfill and receive no bills from a company for garbage pickup service.

That will end with the monopoly service. Whether or not you dispose of your own trash, you will still get a quarterly bill from the monopoly winner, and you will still be required to pay upwards of $200 per year or face being reported to the city for whatever legal action the city may choose to take.

The meeting at City Hall starts at 6:30 p.m. tonight.