Garbage Problems Continue
The evening started with a bang as Lynn Weems of Woodstock, a realtor and local utility employee, addressed the Commission regarding Waste Pro. “We’ve been very patient with Waste Pro,” she began, “but they run when they want to or they don’t run when they don’t want to.” Weems went on to describe the scene of streets lined with overflowing and knocked over Waste Pro bins making the area look trashy as she attempts to entice home buyers to the area. She said it is damaging property values and potential residents comment on the visually obvious problem often.
Weems said the problem with inconsistent and non-pickup of garbage has been getting progressively worse over the last 2-3 months, and said the company is now at least a week late. According to Weems, she has called the company almost daily in the last few weeks, and after being spoken to nicely and told the problem would be handled, nothing ever happens more than once.
“They always seem to get that bill out on time, though,” Weems said, “That’s the only thing they consistently do on time … Either they need to perform the service or we need to change.”
County Attorney Anthony Johnson commented that during the last 10 days the transfer station has been shut down during the company changeover and Waste Pro has been having to dump in Bessemer. He conceded, however, that this did not explain the entire issue, or the previous months.
Weems also mentioned a comment storm on Waste Pro’s Facebook page, with residents leaving bad feedback and complaints. “Consider me one of many many many unhappy citizens,” she said.
All Commissioners on hand (Sammy Holdsambeck was absent) agreed that the problem is getting worse.
Following Weems, another resident addressed the Commission on the same topic. Flo Hobson said she called Waste Pro three weeks ago and spoke to someone who was rude and argumentative, telling her she was expecting pickup on the wrong day. Upon calling back the next week, she was told a different day again. After being told once that her pickup was Thursday, and once that is was Tuesday, she said her garbage is only picked up lately on Friday, Saturday, or the following Monday. She never knows when it will run.
Joseph Jackson of Woodstock took the podium after Hobson, and said he was one of the first on the Facebook complaints thread about Waste Pro. Besides agreeing with everything Weems and Hobson said, he added that he and others have observed Waste Pro garbage trucks speeding through and out of neighborhoods at around 30 mph, in areas where children are playing outside. “You know those big trucks can’t stop quick,” he said to commissioners.
Jackson asked how long the Waste Pro contract would be in place, and wondered if starting a petition to have their contract pulled would do any good.
All commissioners were in agreement and sympathetic to the issue, with most personally having the same problems as were described. However, no direct plan of action was stated at this time.
Courthouse Annex New Building Concept Approved
County Administrator Derek Reeves handed out concept renderings (not final plans) of the new construction project to commissioners. Several meetings ago, Commissioners approved the construction of a new courthouse annex/probate building to be placed behind the current building, which would be torn down to make a parking lot for the new building upon its completion. The front elevation and floor plan presented from Elllis Architects provide a direction to distill a final detailed plan from, and should not be looked at as exact. The Commission liked and approved what they saw, enabling the next steps to get underway.
As a step in the process, Reeves stated that new Public Building Authority appointments must be made. He said that one member of the previous group had passed away, and they are required to have three members appointed for six year terms in order to be able to approve construction plans of this type. Commissioners are considering who to appoint and will be prepared to make appointments at the next meeting.
Coldwater Road Update
County Engineer Jeff McKinney asked the Commission to approve and sign a State document that would allow the Coldwater Road project to begin. After they unanimously approving the request, Commissioner Kelly asked McKinney to explain to residents who had come with questions exactly why the process is taking so long to get their road fixed. It has been nine years of tedium, according to Kelly.
McKinney explained that Coldwater Road, which began life as Highway 5 in 1927, had at some point undergone a status change from “major collector” to “minor collector.” In order to use federal funds for 80% of project cost, a road must be a major collector, which basically means has a high traffic volume. According to McKinney, they’ve been conducting new traffic counts on Coldwater for over a year, and have spent months going to Montgomery repeatedly in order to get the status changed back to a major collector so that the county would be able to afford the project by paying only 20%.
He added that because of requirements, it takes at least a year after initiating the request before work can actually begin. To that, he said the project is scheduled to get the “go” this month. But, that only means opening bids to contractors. Selecting a contractor can take up to six weeks, but once selected, the contractor has at most 15 days to begin the work.
Summarizing the timelines, McKinney said that while seasonal limitations of the materials to be used (all plans are completed and ready to go) would require them to stop working in October, the legal process of it all would keep them from actually starting until October. “North Bibb County is right on the line that separates the seasonal limitations, and we think we can go ahead with it, but it’ll really depend on the weather. If it’s too cold in October we will have to wait until early spring,” he said.
The road will be widened by one foot on each side, which means if someone has a concrete driveway touching the road it will be cut by the contractor, then met back with the new road surface. Besides widening, the road will be leveled and sealed. “This will be a new type of surface that Coldwater has never had.”
Commissioners also approved the County Engineer’s resolution presented to declare West Ashby Road the next on the list to resurface. This was proposed last meeting as a method to use the remaining federal aid funds so that the new state gas tax funds can start coming in.
The West Ashby project would be a 5.3 mile resurface project from Highway 25 to Highway 139 and receive the same new type of surface as Coldwater Road. McKinney said from inspections of county roads, it’s clear that West Ashby should be the next priority. Commissioners agreed and approved the resolution.
The Rock Building (County Commission Office) got an emergency plumbing repair over the weekend recently, for which Reach Plumbing billed just over $2,800. The Commission approved to pay the invoice, but stated they were not happy with the repair plan for a long term solution and requested the Administrator have Reach return to “look at it again.”
Last meeting, Jeremy Smith appeared before the Commission to request a release of “excess tax” from a property he and a partner had purchased on a tax sale. The Commission sent a request for opinion on the matter to Montgomery, and received an answer from Will Martin from the State Revenue Department that the excess tax should be paid either to the previous owner of the property or go to the County, an opinion that supports Commissioner Burt’s statement last meeting. Upon hearing the note from Montgomery, Commissioners voted to deny the request by Smith, who was not present.
County Attorney Johnson thanked Chairman Stabler for enabling a resolution to the Hill Road conflict by talking to residents and getting property owners to agree to having the road straightened enough for emergency vehicles to pass.
Chairman Stabler requested prayers for Commissioner Holdsambeck, who is under the weather. Commissioner Kelly also asked for prayers that his upcoming surgery will go well, as a recent fall has caused injury associated with his previous heart surgery.