Avondale Estates shifting to curbside sanitation services beginning on Oct. 2Avondale Estates Public Works Director Marcel Jackson and members of the public works staff shared their work experiences with the city commission on Sept. 14, 2022. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
Avondale Estates, GA — Beginning Monday, Oct. 2, the city of Avondale Estates is eliminating back door sanitation pickup will shift to curbside sanitation services. Residents of single-family homes must bring their trash receptacles to the curb for pickup.
Residents who cannot do so can apply to maintain the back door pickup by submitting a special assistance request for back door sanitation pickup on the city’s website. To apply, click here.
“Over the past year, we have heard from city staff and residents regarding the back door sanitation service offered by the city,” Mayor Jonathan Elmore said in a statement. “We have concluded that it is time to make a change and believe it is in the best interest of the city to eliminate the back door sanitation service. This change in service will create efficiency for the city allowing staff to devote time to other needed public works tasks, and as important if not more so, it will help improve the morale and physical well-being of staff.”
The schedule and frequency of garbage collection will remain the same, with twice-a-week pickup on the same days residents normally receive service. All garbage should be bagged and securely tied closed, and all items should be placed at the curb by 7 a.m. on collection days. No yard waste should be in plastic bags, according to an announcement from the city.
During the city commission meeting on Sept. 27, Mayor Pro Tem Brian Fisher said the change came about as the city has struggled to keep up with other areas of public works due to call-outs in the department.
“When we have people call out, we have to take people from other public works crews that deal with cutting grass, taking care of our public spaces, and so forth,” Fisher said. “We know that those spaces haven’t been kept up the way that we expect them to and our residents do. I think a lot of this change is to address that.”
He also confirmed that all the leaf trucks are operating as the fall leaf season is coming up.
“In order to keep up with the demand of what’s going to be happening around leaf season and maintaining our public spaces, it’s a change that’s necessitated because every time we have someone calling out from sanitation, we have to pull people for those services and this will allow us to do it much quicker,” Fisher said.
The city is still working to determine the long-term approach for sanitation services.
City Manager Patrick Bryant said at the Sept. 13 city commission meeting that the city has released a request for proposals for sanitation services that include solid waste disposal and recycling.
“This is the next step in the information gathering process for staff in order for the board to make a more informed decision about the direction of the sanitation program moving forward,” Bryant said. “We anticipate those proposals to be returned near the end of October. Following the return of those proposals, staff will go through them, parse out the information, and bring them to the board for future consideration.”
In April, Bryant presented three options for sanitation services for the city commission to discuss at a work session. The options included keeping the service the same, shifting to curbside garbage collection, and outsourcing the solid waste services.
All options would increase the city’s sanitation fee.
Option one keeps the service the same with twice-weekly backdoor residential solid waste collection, curbside recycling, leaf pickup, special yard waste pickup, greenspace services, and commercial solid waste.
The sanitation fee would increase from $596 to $714.
To maintain the current service level, the city would need to replace two garbage trucks, a dump truck, and four leaf vehicles.
Avondale Estates has three garbage trucks; the newest one is already seven years old. The oldest leaf vacuum truck is almost 25 years old. The other leaf truck is also about 20 years old.
The total cost to replace the equipment would be about $920,000. The purchase would be phased over a five-year period so that the annual capital cost would be $184,000 per year.
“Vehicle repairs and maintenance for sanitation vehicles and equipment totaled $96,000 in 2022,” Bryant previously said. “To put that in perspective, we budgeted for $50,000 in repair and maintenance costs in the sanitation fund. Due to the age of the fleet, those costs are continually rising.”
Option two suggests a shift to once-a-week curbside solid waste collection and would maintain the once-a-week curbside recycling collection. The city would need to purchase 96-gallon trash cans, costing about $175,000. The vehicle and equipment needs would be the same as option one.
The total cost of purchasing the 96-gallon trash cans and replacing the vehicles would be about $1 million or $219,000 per year over a five-year period.
The sanitation fee would be about $680 a year.
Option three would be to outsource solid waste collection. This would also be once-a-week curbside garbage pick up using the 96-gallon trash cans.
“That would essentially remove the burden of having to replace the vehicles associated with the collection of solid waste,” Bryant said. “Not only would it remove that burden, it would allow us to sell the vehicles that were responsible for solid waste collection.”
The city doesn’t know how much those vehicles would sell for.
In this option, the only vehicles needing to be replaced would be the dump truck, leaf trucks, and vacuums. The total cost would be $108,000.
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