County still facing garbage

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2001

pick-up problems


Staff Writer

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Problems first brought to light in the fall still continue to be just that.

In the fall, Solid Waste Officer Sam Green discussed problems with Mark Dunning Industries of Dothan, which picks up the garbage for county customers.

Since that time, complaints have continued to be brought to the attention of Green and county commissioners.

"We’ve been having problems since we moved there," said Linda Dick who lives on the Luverne Highway.

She let the first incident pass without complaint, but after Christmas, she just could not keep quiet any longer.

Monday night, Dick told commissioners she returned from a trip after Christmas and found "two bags of trash sitting there."

She called MDI to ask why the bags were left behind and was told workers only pick up bags which are contained to the can.

"Those cans are not that big," Dick said of having the extra trash from the holidays.

So, on the next trash pickup day, her husband "stacked" the bags on top of what was in the can.

Again, the bags were left behind and she was told it was "stacked too high." Her response to MDI was that the bags were in the can and should have been thrown in the truck.

"We live on a state highway and if this gets scattered, there’s going to be a problem," Dick told the commission.

Commission Chairman Willie Thomas told Dick he and other commissioners were aware of the problems county residents are experiencing.

"The problem we have with MDI is we’ve signed a contract," Thomas told Dick. "We don’t have any jurisdiction over MDI."

He did, however, try to assure her the commission is taking steps to correct the problem.

The commission has scheduled a work session for 5:15 p.m., Jan. 16 to specifically discuss the garbage issue.

One of those steps was trying to prevent any problems by hiring people to follow the MDI trucks and pick up extra trash anticipated during the holidays.

"My phone rang off the hook," Commissioner Karen Berry said of people calling to complain about holiday trash being left behind.

Commissioner Larry Penn said Berry has not been alone.

"I don’t know of a commissioner up here whose phone doesn’t ring every week," Penn said.

At the Sept. 26, 2000 meeting of the Pike County Commission, Green publicly posed some questions to Don Clark of MDI regarding the curbside pick up service.

Just prior to that meeting, MDI had sent notices to garbage customers about new policies that brought some concern to commissioners and Green, who said trash is being left behind on the routes.

Under the new policies, MDI would not pick up any bags that were not in the 90-gallon container.

"We get paid to dump those containers," Clark said at that September meeting, adding the company would not continue to pick up any bags or boxes left beside the containers.

Clark said changes in the service are because MDI is losing money. He said, in August, the company lost $7,000 in Pike County.

"I can’t pick up extra garbage," Clark said.

Commissioners have been receiving complaints and Charlie Harris more or less gave Clark and ultimatum.

"You either pick it up or I, for one, will vote your contract out of this county," Harris told Clark.

But, that will not happen anytime soon because the commission renewed its three-year contract, beginning April 1, 2000.