Citizens having issues with TransWaste

By Ashley Biles

February 26, 2014

Several citizens spoke out about the garbage contract Upson County has with TransWaste Services during last week’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners. There were mixed opinions with some wanting to see the county bid out the services to give other companies an opportunity to provide the services, while others stated they liked the company and hoped the county would continue business with them. The contract with TransWaste will expire in June of this year and the board is in the process of fine tuning the options for the contract before sending out RFQs (request for qualifications).

One citizen who spoke up was Scott Whatley, who stated he had been having trouble with the company when it comes to paying his bill. He noted that the TransWaste Upson County office would tell him his bill was due one day, but then his services were suspended before the due date because the main office for the company said he was overdue. Whatley stated his trash had not been picked up one week and no one could tell him why. He feels TransWaste is not a trustworthy company.

Another who spoke was Reggie Smith, who told the board he had always had positive dealings with TransWaste and he would hope the county would give the company time to prove themselves to everyone before making a change.

The final citizen who spoke on the issue was Johnny Poore of Yatesville, who is the Executive Director of the Lamar County Regional Solid Waste Authority. Mr. Poore encouraged the county to rebid the contract because bidding is the only way to know what the market is like and it provides equal opportunity for everyone. He pointed out the board had originally approved a contract for three years with TransWaste (when it was known as Advanced Disposal) and had already extended it for two more years. He continued, stating bidding was the best for not only the administration and the tax payers, but also for the commissioners because their decision would be less likely to be questioned if the service was bid out.

Chairman Rusty Blackston told the board he had received numerous calls from both citizens and vendors asking about the contract; noting that whatever the board decided to do, he wanted to see the community gets as good of service as they have been getting with TransWaste. Commissioner Frank Spraggins stated he liked the way things had been going with TransWaste, but he thought there were some things the board needed to look at before going into a contract with anyone; such as would the company do the billing, or would the county. He offered to work with County Manager Jim Wheeless on narrowing down the options the county would like to include, and Commissioner Ralph Ellington stated he would be happy to help as well. Wheeless noted it would be best if the county began putting out the RFQs in the next three weeks or so, and he welcomed the input of Spraggins and Ellington.

In other business, Wheeless updated the board on the Prater Street revitalization, which was to be funded by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) the county received from the Department of Community Affairs. The plan for the area was to demolish or renovate 10 homes on the street, like the project which was done on Solomon Street in 2011.He stated all of the houses that were looked at to be part of the project have asbestos and will also have to be looked at by the historic preservation assessor before anything can be done. Wheeless noted the commissioners will need to make a decision if they want to go ahead with the asbestos abatement at the cost of the county or if they want to return the CDBG money to the Department of Community Affairs. The board did not make a decision or any comments on the matter at the meeting.

Finally, the board approved a beer pouring license for the Proud Ace Club after Planning and Zoning Director Doug Currier stated the premises had passed all inspections and was up to code.

Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1