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City commission approves rate increase for trash collection

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Featured At the November 27 commission meeting, commissioners voted to increase trash collection fees for residential customers about .87 per month. Robert Preston Jr./DouglasNow.com At the November 27 commission meeting, commissioners voted to increase trash collection fees for residential customers about .87 per month.

A new year is a convenient time to make changes. City utilities customers will see such a change in 2024 in the form of higher trash collection bills.

 

 

At last week’s city commission meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to approve raising customer billing by 2.7 percent to account for an increase in the amount GFL Environmental is charging the city for trash collection. This item was on the November 13 meeting agenda and commissioners engaged in a lengthy discussion with GFL district manager Chad Edwards and Douglas transfer station manager Mike Taft regarding issues surrounding trash collection. Most of the discussion centered around citizen complaints regarding GFL’s service to city customers.

 

 

The city’s contract with GFL allows GFL to raise its rate according to the Consumer Price Index. In this case, the CPI is 5.8 percent, is approximately $125,000 for the year. The city commission had to decide if the city would recoup the increase and if so, from where it would do so. The recommendation was to pass that increase on to customers, which would amount to an average of .86 per residential customer per month.

 

 

Edwards stated that he would discuss these issues with GFL management before the company assessed the city a rate increase. Commissioners decided to table the item until they heard back from GFL. A few days after the meeting, Edwards reported to city manager Charlie Davis that GFL intended to assess the city a 5.8 rate increase per the contract.

 

 

 

With that information in hand, commissioners had to re-visit the item at the November 27 meeting. There was little discussion among commissioners when the item came up. Commissioner Kentaiwon Durham did have a few comments, however. “My only concern is . . . but as they increase their rates, I just pray they increase their service to our customers. At the end of the day, we want to be serviced right. It doesn’t matter if it’s trash, if it’s your insurance, or if it’s fast food – customer service is important. I just feel that at the end of the day, with the people’s trash, they need to do better,” he said.

 

 

Customers will see the increase in January 2024.

 

 

The commission approved several other items at the meeting, including:

  • The purchase of a new vacuum trailer from Consolidated Pipe for $62,736 of Waycross;
  • The purchase of a new modular building for the fire department from Mobile Modular of Arcade, Ga.;
  • The purchase of a new crew cab pickup from Tallahassee Ford for $120,889;
  • Pole inspections by SWPI, Inc., for $68,000;
  • Expansion and resurfacing at the cemetery by East Coast Asphalt for $670,340.71;
  • Extend Chris Round’s rehabilitation of two buildings at the World War II Flight Training Base by a year; and
  • Award Statewide Engineering the engineering and construction management components of the Unity and Eastside parks rehabilitation projects at a cost of $154,340.

 

 

Commissioners also heard the first reading of an ordinance amending the Unified Land Development Code as it relates to accessory uses and accessory dwellings. The changes, if approved, would add a $35 permit fee to the fee table.

 

The commission also conducted three public hearings related to alcoholic beverage license applications and held the first reading of the alcoholic beverage ordinance which would allow grocery stores in the Town Center Zoning District with at least 4,000 square feet of floor space and 85 percent of sales from food or non-alcoholic items to sell alcoholic beverages. The second reading and public hearing will be held at the Monday, December 11 commission meeting.

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