Further discussion on amendment with Amerigreen Contract at BOC’s regular meeting

Published 11:39 pm Thursday, July 21, 2022

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AMERICUS – The Sumter County Board of Commissioners (BOC) continued to discuss an amendment to its contract with Amerigreen Environmental Recycling at its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 19, at the Sumter County Courthouse.

Commissioner Clay Jones was absent from the meeting, but all other commissioners were present.

An amendment to the county’s contract with Amerigreen would mean that the picking up of brown goods, white goods and bulky waste would be the responsibility of the county and would take place at the county’s expense. This was something that was discussed at length during the BOC’s work session the week before and the discussion continued at its regular meeting with no approval voted on as of yet.

“Brown Goods” are considered to be bulky waste, such as sofas, chairs, mattresses and other similar home and office furniture to large for 96-gallon containers. “White Goods” are considered to be refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, stoves, dishwashers, televisions and other large appliances. “Bulky Waste” is considered to be things, such as a piece of furniture or waste material from a residential source other than construction debris or hazardous waste and with a weight volume greater than that allowed for containers.

Currently, the agreement between Amerigreen and the county states that Amerigreen has the sole exclusive right and obligation to provide curbside refuse collection for each covered unit (all commercial units, industrial units and/or residential units within the service area with respect to which Amerigreen has agreed to perform the services contemplated pursuant to this agreement), including collection, hauling and disposal services specified in this agreement. The agreement states that Amerigreen will furnish all personnel, labor, equipment, trucks, tools and all other items necessary to perform the services and Amerigreen’s obligation under this agreement. According to Hooks, if any “Extra Waste” is not collected by Amerigreen within 48 hours after the company has told a covered unit to put it out on the side of the road so that they can come and get it, then if the county or Amerigreen receives a complaint about something being on the side of the road, Amerigreen will agree to make a special collection of the “extra waste” within 48 hours of the time that they are notified that the item is sitting on the side of the road.

“Extra Waste” is defined as being the volume of white goods, brown goods and bulky waste collected from covered units by Amerigreen and included within the $5,500.00 of brown goods, white goods and bulky waste collected from covered units at county expense.

What seems to be at issue here is how much responsibility does Amerigreen have in picking up all these items that people leave on their driveways or on the side of the road and how much responsibility does the county have in doing this.

Commissioner Jim Reid, who stated the week before that people in his district have complained to him about seeing toilets and other items on the side of the road and in driveways, stated that he had thought about this issue all week and stated that he doesn’t like the looks of it when he rides down the road and sees all the trash piled around a hobo. “It kind of reminds me when I was in third-world countries,” Reid said. He added that he didn’t understand why all of the huge items, such as washing machines, refrigerators and mattresses have to be put out on the side of the road and why it’s the county’s responsibility to pick these items up. “I just think it takes away from the aesthetics of the county,” Reid said.

Board Chairman Mark Waddell stated that it seems to him that if the county doesn’t come up with some type of a solution, items are going to thrown everywhere.

Amerigreen Vice President Jason Sizemore, who participated in the meeting via Zoom, stated that his opinion that the county should come up with an ordinance stating what items people can and cannot put out on their driveways or on the side of the road because some people are putting out loads worth of garbage for Amerigreen to pick up, in affect, abusing the service Amerigreen provides. He also said that if the company’s employees rode around the county picking up trash, then the customers who are doing it right by calling in and asking Amerigreen to come pick up their items will lose not be able to have their trash picked up.

Sizemore added that customers should be asked not to put out their items for pick up until the day before the scheduled pick up so that trash doesn’t sit there for several days. Waddell asked Sizemore what items people are putting out that they aren’t supposed to. Sizemore replied that some people are putting out huge limb piles in their driveways and that one limb pile contained two completely grown oak trees that were cut down.

However, Reid reiterated his opinion that it isn’t the county’s responsibility to pick up trash and items in people’s yards. “The garbage fees that are on my tax bill that I pay, I assume that that’s for residential household garbage,” Reid said. “I think the only way you will ever police it is to say ‘If it does not fit in the hobo, then it can’t be put outside on the road and we’re not in this other type of garbage collection’. That’s just not our place.” Waddell stated that if the county wants to come up with and approve an ordinance concerning this matter, then it has got to be policed and enforced. “We can create 15 million ordinances, but do we have enough people to make sure that that’s done,” Waddell said.

No decision or approval was made on this issue, but Waddell stated that some sort of garbage ordinance needs to be added to what the county already has. Attorney Hooks stated that the county already has a solid waste ordinance and that it can be strengthened. She also suggested tabling this issue until the BOC’s next meeting in August.

In other news from the BOC’s regular meeting, a public hearing was called to discuss a request from Shitalben C. Patel, the owner of the Get N Go store located at 506 Highway 280 East in Americus, for an alcoholic beverage license. The store passed all of the necessary inspections and the only reason for having the Public Hearing was because the store already has an alcoholic beverage license, but is changing ownership. By law, two public hearings have to take place and the second public hearing on the matter will take place at the BOC’s work session on Tuesday, August 9.

The BOC also voted unanimously to approve the acceptance of federal funding assistance in the amount of $150,000.00 for Design Runway 50-23 and Parallel Taxiway Pavement Rehabilitation at the Jimmy Carter Regional Airport with matching funds in the amount of $8,333.00, with the county’s funds coming from SPLOST. This is a joint authority agreement with the county and the City of Americus. Commissioner Scott Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Jesse Smith seconded the motion. The BOC voted and the approval passed unanimously.

The BOC also voted unanimously to approve the Joint Comprehensive Plan between Americus and Sumter County. This issue has been discussed by the BOC at its meetings for several months without any action taken, but a unanimous vote to approve the Joint Comprehensive Plan finally took place. Commissioner Roberson made a motion for approval and Commissioner Smith seconded the motion.