City requests garbage service RFPs

Published 2:06 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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CORRECTION: In the Wed., Feb. 28 edition of the Atmore Advance, we incorrectly named a utility board appointment. We reported that Chris McGhee was appointed, when in fact, it was Chase McGhee. We apologize for the error and were happy to set the record straight.

The Atmore City Council authorized the mayor to send out a request for proposal (RFP) for residential solid waste pickup during its regular meeting on Feb. 26.

City Economic Planner and Grants Writer Chris Walker said at the hest of Mayor Jim Staff, the city wanted to look at possibly sending out an RFP to privatize garbage pick up in Atmore.

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“We sent this out in 2013, but we decided to not move forward with it,” Walker said.

Walker presented each council member with a residential waste pick up analysis for fiscal year 2023.

The analysis included employee salaries and benefits expense, garbage truck expenses and timberlands landfill expenses. Additionally, an estimated future costs of residential solid waste pick up for the city was included, detailing the cost of two automated trucks, cart purchases and spare parts.

“What this document is is an analysis of how much it costs us to pick up the garbage versus how much revenue we’re bringing in,” Walker said.

The estimated residential garbage pickup revenue for 2023 was more than $784,000 for the city. The total residential garbage pickup expense for the year was more than $791,000.

At present, the cost per house for garbage pickup is estimated at $30 per house, the analysis said.

Walker said some advantages of having a privatized garbage pickup service includes that each resident will get a cart, which will be paid for by the garbage service; trash bags sitting by the road will go away; and the liability insurance for garbage pickup (for helper/laborers on each truck) will also go down.

“All you have to have is a driver,” Walker said. “The man power we have on the trucks we can take and move into other areas we need. If we do that, we don’t have to lay anybody off.”

Walker said the three companies the city’s in talks with are, at present, interested in buying the current garbage trucks.

Walker said he’ll get with City Attorney Larry Wettermark to draft the RFP, and send it out for bid.

Once the meeting was over, the council was asked if the rates would increase if a privatized garbage service is hired.

Walker said once the bids come in to the city, and they come in much more higher than the city is paying, they don’t have to accept the bids, and it’ll continue to do what it’s doing.

“This is the first step of us figuring out a better way of doing what we’re doing regarding garbage pickup,” he said.

Staff said he estimates the privatized garbage pickup service would save the city an estimated $200,000 per year.

In other business, the city:

• approved the appointment of Chase McGhee on the utility board, replacing Dr. Ulysses McBride.