Garbage collection will stop for delinquent customers in Pike County

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, April 25, 2013

Written by Andrew Clay, intern with The Messenger

There is a growing fear that in the coming months that Pike County roads will run putrid with garbage.

Advanced Disposal has informed the Pike County Commission that in the near future they will stop collection on delinquent customers.

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This is defined as all customers not currently up to date on the payment of their garbage collection bill.

This is not the first time that Pike County has faced such a dilemma, but is the first time this decade.

More than 11 years ago when the county was still in the business of garbage collection, they faced the same problems, and it was a contributing factor to them leaving the business, according to the commission.

County Administrator Harry Sanders said, as of now, the county has no details about when the pick-ups will be stopped. But when the time comes, Advanced Disposal will remove garbage from homes where residents are current on their bills. Delinquent customers will have to bring their accounts current for pick up to resume.

“I’m sure Advanced Disposal doesn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings,” Sanders said. “They just want to get paid for their service.”

Commission Chairman Homer Wright understands what is going to happen, but said the hands of the commission are unfortunately tied.

“It’s a contract with the private sector,” Wright said. “We tried to get a local bill passed and it wasn’t voted for, so we can’t really enforce it.”

This bill was a local referendum voted on by the county. The roots of the referendum are located in “The Alabama Limited Self Governance Act,” which allows for counties to abate nuisances like unsanitary sewage, noise, litter and rubbish, pollution, overgrown weeds, junkyards and animals.

Pike County defeated the referendum with a vote of 70-30 against.

The stipulations within the act state that once defeated the referendum cannot be brought back up for a countywide vote for at least 48 months.

Unlike the city of Troy, the county does not bill its utilities together.

Water, sewer, electricity and trash are paid through one conjoined bill for Troy residents, but Pike County residents receive individual bills.

Wright when on to explain that the county would need judicial support in order to take action to force payment by those individuals not up to date.

At the commission meeting on Tuesday, April 23, Pike County Commission Attorney suggested a potential way to solve the problem.

Commissioner Jimmy Barron said that maybe a solution could be found by publishing a list of delinquent customers in the newspaper. County Attorney Allen Jones advised the commission that they consider filing small claims lawsuits against the violators, and those would become public record.

Commissioner Charlie Harris was the most adamant during Tuesday’s commission meeting that something be done to prevent the collection stoppage.

He gave an emphatic warning, noting the situation could get out of hand.

“Every ditch, dead-end road, and creeks will become garbage dumps,” Wright said.