Proposed policy changes for Aiken (S. C.’s) solid waste collection made at Aiken City Council’s February 3 work session included, along with a basic rate increase, higher rates for users requiring two or more green roll-carts and for users requesting garbage pick-up from their back yards as a personal convenience, as opposed to pick-up at the road. Also, increases to fees to collect yard wastes in excess of a usual set amount (5 cubic yards/week) were proposed as were fees for pick-up of electronic wastes, oil and paint wastes, and old tires and batteries. Other proposals made at the work session would impact the budget of the Public Service Department’s Solid Waste Division, reducing its operating budget, while maintaining its current level of services to the individual homeowner.
The basic rate increase was approved at a subsequent regularly scheduled City Council meeting. Also approved, and more important, perhaps, to maintain the stability of this service, was the designation of the solid waste division as an “enterprise account,” a designation that will require its expenses be covered by its approved receipts. While this may seem to be entirely reasonable, it may increase the need for fund transfers to cover uses of solid waste assets in areas not covered by its enterprise account mission, e.g., should a truck be needed to move portable bleachers from, say, Citizens Park to Smith-Hazel Park for some special function, a “rental” could be arranged allowing Parks and Recreation to utilize the equipment (and personnel) from the enterprise account activity—not a difficult thing to do, but the need should be recognized. Of course the opposite would be true for getting a solid waste truck’s oil changed at the City Garage.
The “enterprise account” is scheduled to become effective on July 1. At that point in time it is expected that green roll cart usage will cost the user $17 a month per cart (a $3 a month increase for the first cart over last year’s cost and a $12 a month increase for the second.) Convenience service to back-yards will also rise from the current $5 to $17 a month per cart unless physical hardship is a designated issue. Pickup of e-wastes, oil, paint, tires and batteries will be provided for a $25 per trip fee (the homeowner does have other options here, of course.)
Recommendations that Council decided to not implement currently include incorporation of donut holes into the collection area (while competition with current providers is not desired—donut holers do, of course, have the option of petitioning to join the City.) Also, the recommendation that yard wastes in excess of 5 cubic yards a week be collected as additional charged items was also declined as being a bit too difficult to quantify.
If you live in Aiken and think you would like to discuss any of the above changes with your elected representative, the best place to go might be to the City of Aiken’s City Council contact page. Click on the “email me” option or grab your phone and dial the number. I’m sure your representative would appreciate your input. If you are not sure which member is your representative, your district is printed on your voter registration card (Can’t find your card? There is a map included on the above contact page that should answer your question—just click on the map, move your location to the center of the area, and enlarge it to where you can read the street names.)
One other thing: In the interests of moving in a direction we all would like to see things move, each of us might consider our utilization of the current system. Specifically, where we have a roll out cart and find it is below half-full on pickup day, decide if it needs to be put out this week. It takes our workers just as much time to unload a half full cart as it does a completely full one. Obviously, delay in putting out the kitchen garbage should not go on very long, but the recyclables need not be put out until the container is about full. What is, or isn’t recyclable? The City website has the answer.
And about those roll carts: Printed on each of them is the phrase, “Please point arrows toward the street (or alley, if alley pickup.)” The arrows point toward the handle of the cart. Following this request will speed up the work. When the pick up has been made, the handle will be left, usually, pointed toward the homeowner’s property. Sometime this is useful to answer the question, “Have they come yet?” Works for me.
A second consideration might be to bunch the containers as much as possible. Each time the truck stops will require a certain amount of time for the workers to get off and back on the vehicle. It does not matter if they have to pick up wastes from one house or four; the basic time to bring the truck to a stop and get off and on will be the same. If four neighbors (two on each side of the street) find it reasonably simple to bunch their carts fairly close together (on both sides of the street would be fine,) a savings in time will result. Of course if your neighbor lives a hundred yards down the street, this may not work for you.
One last thing: If every pair of homes could place their yard wastes more or less together at the property line, a savings in time would occur for the yard trash pickup. As with the above, stopping the truck once is less time consuming that stopping it twice—especially when the truck needs to be immobilized to use the clam-shell pickup device.
The City does what it can to reduce its expenses. If we can help, why shouldn’t we? The more efficient the trash collection activity is, the less it will cost. The less it costs the city, the lower the bills will be, especially under the enterprise account concept.
Your examiner would like to thank Public Services Director, Tim Coakley, and Assistant City Manager, Stuart Bedenbaugh, for providing the factual information found in this article. If any mistakes are found, be assured, they are your Examiner’s.
Thank you for taking the time to peruse this somewhat lengthy article. For additional articles on environmental issues in the Central Savannah River Area, please click on the link. And, as always, thank you for visiting atombash.com.