Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Year Bringing Changes in Garbage Pickup Services; Only 20 Percent of Homeowners Have Paid for Universal Service

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Year Bringing Changes in Garbage Pickup Services; Only 20 Percent of Homeowners Have Paid for Universal Service

Article excerpt

Byline: DEBORAH CEARNAL

Monday ushers in a new year - and a new era for Clay County.

It's the day universal garbage service begins. Workers will be collecting trash while most Clay residents are celebrating the holiday.

"We are fully staffed and the trucks are ready to go," Mike Pacilio, site manager for Advanced Disposal of Jacksonville, said.

The company has bought 31 new trucks and has 60 workers to staff them, Pacilio said. A "pup truck" - a small version of a regular garbage truck - will be for the narrow and unpaved roads, he said. "We've been out and scouted the roads already."

Records show about 20 percent of homeowners have paid their $110 bills that will cover garbage, yard waste and recyclable pickups through Sept. 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. Billings thereafter will be added to landowners' tax bills. The deadline is Jan. 31.

Advanced has sent out postcards that notify residents of their pickup days and has delivered the two recycle bins at eligible properties. Those who have not received their notice or their bins should call Advanced toll-free at (866) 779-2529.

As early as June 2005, universal garbage pickup has been on the commission's agenda. The board voted 3-2 on June 28 that year to begin preparing for a changeover. They acted on the recommendation of the Environmental Waste and Disposal Committee, which had taken into account numerous complaints from customers about poor service with the current provider and the fact that the contract for service was to end on Sunday. Commissioners George Bush and Glenn Lassiter opposed the plan at the time.

Personnel worked on a strict contract that included several options, and in September 2006 named Advanced, which was the low bidder, as the provider. The ordinance establishing the service, however, had not been adopted. In public hearings in October, residents opposed to the plan filled the commission meeting room to voice their objections. Despite the comments, commissioners voted 4-0 for the service. Lassiter, who had voted against the universal service, was out of town for the vote.

Though not directly connected, the switch comes in the wake of an illegal dumping scandal that has left the county with an estimated $9 million cleanup bill. Commissioners reasoned that the curbside pickup might reduce instances of illegal dumping throughout the county. Igou, who has been in waste collection in both the private and public sector for more than 20 years, encouraged the change, citing concerns for the public's health: Accumulated garbage is a breeding ground for and attracting disease-carrying insects and animals.

deborah.cearnal@jacksonville.com, (904) 278-9487, ext. 6371

TRASH FACTS

GARBAGE

-- Garbage, recyclables and yard wastes should be placed at curbside by 6 a.m. Place all garbage in 40-gallon trash cans with tight-fitting lids or in heavy-duty plastic trash bags. …

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