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Avondale Estates City Commission to vote on contract for sanitation services

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Avondale Estates City Commission to vote on contract for sanitation services

Avondale Estates City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission will hold a regular meeting on Wednesday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m. at Avondale Estates City Hall, 21 N. Avondale Plaza, and via Zoom. During the meeting, the city commission will vote on a contract with Arrow Sanitation that would outsource the city’s sanitation and recycling services to Arrow.

There is no work session scheduled for Wednesday night.

To access the meeting, follow these instructions:

To join the meeting via Zoom, click here.

To view the meeting agendas, click here.

Public comments can be made either by attending the meeting in-person or through Zoom.

Since September 2022, the city has been figuring out the future of the public works department and sanitation services. During a work session that month, public works employees shared their stories about working for the city and their encounters with residents and dogs on the job.

The public works department also experiences a high number of employees calling out each month due to the strain on their bodies from doing backdoor sanitation pickup and other concerns. At one point, the department averaged about 50 callouts per month.

City Manager Patrick Bryant previously said there are about 20 working days a month, meaning there are about 2.5 callouts per day. That means about two to three workers are being pulled from the greenspace crew daily to do sanitation.

Last spring, Bryant presented three options for sanitation services for the city commission to consider. The options included keeping the service the same, shifting to curbside garbage collection, and outsourcing the solid waste services. All options would have increased the city’s sanitation fee.

In the fall of 2023, Avondale Estates released a request for proposals for sanitation services that included solid waste disposal and recycling. The city eliminated backdoor sanitation pickup and shifted to curbside collection in October 2023.

The city has been working to develop a long-term approach to sanitation services. If the contract with Arrow is approved, the company would begin collecting solid waste and recycling once a week for residents beginning in May.

Arrow would also be able to contract with businesses in the city to pick up recycling and solid waste three or five days a week. Commercial property owners could still contract with a vendor of their choosing.

The city’s public works department would continue collecting yard waste, and the city would also contract landscaping services.

City Manager Patrick Bryant presented this option at the Jan. 24 work session.

If the contract with Arrow is approved, the total sanitation fee assessed to households would be about $373.28 annually. This revenue would go to the sanitation fund.

“What I’m understanding is that [city staff] are recommending that we go to outsource sanitation and recycling and the reason why is because it’s more economical and because it will also benefit other aspects of our public works department,” Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Shortell previously said.

The current sanitation fee is $596 per household per year, which still does not cover the total cost of the sanitation program. If the public works department were to continue solid waste collection, the city would need to replace its three garbage trucks, and revenue from the current sanitation fee would not be enough to cover that capital cost.

“We would need to raise the fee to approximately $710 per household in order to generate enough revenue,” Bryant previously said.

There are currently 19 employees in public works—17 full-time positions and two seasonal positions. The city would not retain seven full-time employees. Arrow has agreed to provide employment opportunities to each employee the city cannot retain.

Avondale Estates would be Arrow’s first municipal contract. The company currently services several homeowner’s associations and commercial properties in the metro area.

In other business:

– The city commission will consider declaring the results of the special purpose local option sales tax election that was in November 2023. The commission will also consider issuing a SPLOST bond. Some cities bond their SPLOST proceeds to gain revenue upfront rather than incrementally over the next six years.

The cities receive SPLOST revenue monthly, so it would take them six years to collect all their SPLOST funding, Bryant previously told Decaturish.

– The city commission will additionally make appointments to the ethics commission, historic preservation commission, downtown development authority, greenspace advisory committee, and the planning, architecture, and zoning board.

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