Cobb Officials Work With Trash Haulers to Address Concerns
Published November 19, 2019
Complaints are down, but issues about certain trash haulers in Cobb County remain. The county is working with these companies to resolve issues that have frustrated many in the county. As these talks continue, here are a few things to remember;
• Cobb County is not in the trash hauling business. The county also does not regulate the industry. Homeowners and businesses in Cobb must make their own arrangements for trash pickup.
• The county is currently meeting with trash haulers that work in the county to address the multiple concerns.
• Although one proposal included a 10 percent fee charged to trash haulers, that option is not currently being considered.
For more on the situation, read this letter from Cobb County Public Services Director William Tanks.
In the spring of 2019, hundreds of citizens communicated concerns about the trash service in Cobb County. Citizens’ complaints included lack of recycling service, trash not picked up as scheduled, rapidly escalating rates, and restricted options to change service providers. The crescendo of these complaints made local news stories and is also noted in a May 29th, 2019 article in the Marietta Daily Journal.
In response to the concerns of citizens, a “Trash Complaints” email address ([email protected]) was created to receive the complaints in writing. Although some improvement was noted, a large portion of the improvement involved Cobb County staff fielding and directing complaints about resolution. Director of Public Services, Bill Tanks, realized the problem needed to be addressed in a proactive manner.
Cobb County staff knew that if any solution would work it would require the input of key stakeholders before they could approach the county manager and commissioners with any draft recommendations. Cobb County staff reached out to the permitted haulers in the county to gather their input. Meetings were held on October 15th and 17th at the Solid Waste Division offices. Those meetings were informal brainstorming sessions with county staff and permitted haulers. Several haulers expressed their appreciation for considering them after the meetings and by email.
One potential solution presented by Cobb County staff at the meetings was an environmental sustainability fee of 10% on qualified hauler’s gross sales. The fees would handle the impact of more trash trucks on our roads, better trash management, recycling, illegal dumping, litter control, and other waste consequences due to population growth. The fee concept is nothing new and has worked successfully in surrounding municipalities.
The intention of the meeting was to hear what the haulers thought about such a fee. The haulers in attendance gave their input on how to improve waste management in the county. Most were in opposition to the 10% fee. From these initial meetings, Director Tanks and Dr. Jenkins decided they need more time to research and work with haulers to come up with a more palatable solution to the issues expressed by both citizens and haulers.
How Cobb County addresses the growing complexity of a waste management profile that grows proportionately with the population, will be an open and fair process. Waste is one of those issues that affect every citizen, business, and visitor and is worthy of the attention it will surely draw. Unfortunately, there has been some well-intentioned, but inaccurate and/or incomplete information disseminated about a 10% fee.
If you have questions concerning the information you may have received, you can contact Director Bill Tanks directly at [email protected]. You can also voice any concerns about trash services, recycling, or similar topics to Director Tanks or at [email protected]
Ross Cavitt | Cobb County Communications | [email protected]