Spanish Fort considers garbage collection changes

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SPANISH FORT – After nine years, Spanish Fort city officials are considering going out for new proposals for municipal garbage service.

Mayor Mike McMillan told City Council members that he will bring them requests for proposals for garbage service at an upcoming council meeting. The mayor said the city has received frequent calls about pickup.

“I can tell you from city level there’s not a day that goes by that we don’t hear from somebody,” McMillan said. “A lot of days, I hear from two or three. I keep getting assurances that they’re going to correct the problem, but right now, it’s not doing very well.”

Councilwoman Mary Brabner said she has also heard from residents. “The general consensus is they’re not happy,” she said.

Councilman J.R. Smith said residents putting out trash on the wrong days or placing improper materials at the curb has also contributed to the problem.

“Most of the problem that I’ve been told about, that I’ve seen, revolve around the holiday and nobody took the time to pay attention that it’s a holiday and trash moved a day later or they put debris on the street, but put enough to fill up one dump truck instead of cutting it up to the sizes and specifications we’re told to do it,” Smith said. “Or they’ve thrown mattresses and everything else out there.”

The city has not gone out for bids for garbage collection for more than nine years, McMillan said. The current contract expired more than a year ago. “They’ve been operating without a contract for about a year,” McMillan said. “We’ve been, in my opinion, pretty patient with them trying to get their issues resolved.”

The city first had a contract with Arrow, which was then bought out by Advanced Disposal, David Connor, city attorney, said. The company is now in the process of being taken over by Waste Management, McMillan said.

McMillan said a new bid would give companies and the city a chance to assess services.

“If we wanted to make a change, we’d have to go to bid. If you go to bid, there’s always the chance that you could be paying more than what you’re paying now, or you could be paying less than what you’re paying now,” he said.

He said that if a new company wins the bid, the change would take about six weeks.

“It’s a big undertaking. They’ve got to deliver cans and recycling to every household in the city that participates,” McMillan said. “Advance would pick up the old ones. It’s a major deal.”

Smith said that if a new contract is awarded, city officials should make certain that recycling services are specified and that the company provide dumpsters for recyclable materials.

McMillan said Advanced has provided recycling dumpsters at no change.

“They’re been very receptive when we’ve had problems, but I sure am tired of having problems,” he said.