Garbage transition Q & A

Published 9:45pm Saturday, January 5, 2013

As the city of Selma transitions from their own garbage system to that of Advanced Disposal, a private company, there are still many questions that remain. Mayor George Evans and officials with Advanced Disposal have committed to having nine public forums in different wards to get the word out about the change. In the first meeting at Selma High School on Thursday, the Times-Journal was there to report on what questions were most frequently asked.

The process of changing over a garbage service may be confusing, but we have included some frequently asked questions so that the process is just a little easier.

If I already pay for service with the city, will my account automatically be transferred to Advanced Disposal?

“We are starting from scratch,” Lynn Gowan with Advanced Disposal said in a public forum. “We are asking everyone to sign up by Feb. 1 when Advanced Disposal will start doing the garbage routes.”

There are many different ways to sign up. Evans said he would include information on how to sign up in the bills that are mailed out for trash service. Also residents can sign up on or by calling their office at 866-252-0458. There should be sign up forms available in City Hall on Broad Street as well. These forms ask for a name, mailing address, service address, phone number, check or credit card number and a signature. The forms may be mailed to the Advanced Disposal office, P.O. Box 781150 Tallassee, AL 36078.

Where can I pay my bill with Advanced Disposal and how much is service?

Within the contract the city of Selma made with Advanced Disposal, there was an agreement to keep all service charges exactly the same. Residents will be billed quarterly for service. Also monthly installments can be made. The first year is $36 per quarter or $12 per month. The second and third year service will be $45 per quarter and $15 per month. Backdoor service is available for $72 per quarter or $24 per month.

Payments can be made in various ways.

“We accept cash, checks, credit cards, money orders, honestly anything,” Gowan said. “We are trying to make it as easy as possible.”

Payments can be mailed to P.O. Box 781150 Tallassee, AL 36078. Call customer service at 866-252-0458 to make a phone payment with a credit or debit card or residents can set up auto-payment options. Holley True Value, located at 1601 Water Avenue, has opened its doors so that payments can be made there as well in person.

One resident asked at the public forum if there will be a service charge when paying at Holley True Value, and though one has not yet been established, Gowan assured that there would be one.

“When we come up with what that service charge will be we will let everyone know,” Gowan said.

Will the garbage schedules and routes change with the transition?

“We will start with the city’s current schedule,” Billy Porter, general manager for Advanced Disposal said. “We will get the city’s drivers to ride around with us the first couple of weeks. That way we won’t be going by someone’s house at 7 a.m. that is used to us coming at 2 p.m. so we don’t have any confusion to start with. We may tweak the routes a little bit later on if we find a way to be more efficient, but we will keep it the same for a while.”

What if someone does not pay their bill?

“If someone does not pay their bill we have something called stop service,” Porter said. “If they have not paid by the 15th of the next month then the next time the garbage truck goes by there, the driver will have a list of suspended customers and he actually will not pick up the garbage at that address when he goes by. That is a friendly reminder before we have to repossess the can.”

Porter and Gowan said after they have stopped service and have exhausted multiple attempts to collect a payment two things will happen — Advanced Disposal will collect the garbage can and then they will call the city to send out a code enforcement officer. Once a cart has been taken, there is a $25 reinstatement fee to restart an account and get the cart back.

What if my garbage cart is damaged?

Gowan told a group at the public forum that if carts are damaged, Advanced Disposal would be more than happy to replace them — no charge.

Will any city employees be put out of jobs because a private company is taking over this service?

As reported in past Times-Journal articles, Mayor Evans has stated that no employees will lose their job. Advanced Disposal has also purchased all of the city’s garbage equipment, so the city will not lose money by changing the garbage service.

Could I choose another garbage company to use other than Advanced Disposal? 

The city of Selma contract with Advanced Disposal states that the agreement between Selma and the company is in fact exclusive. Residents must use Advanced Disposal for all of their garbage services, commercial and residential.

How can I find out more information?

For any other questions, attend one of the next public forums. For a full list of the public forums check the Community Calendar on page 3A.

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  • Nancy Bennett

    Is there anywhere in the agreement that limits the amount and frequency the garbage rates can be increased? Also, is this going to be like the franchise Charter Communications has w/ the City whereby no one else will want to come into town when the franchise agreement is up and we are then at the mercy of the franchisee forever?

  • popdukes12

    “. Residents must use Advanced Disposal”. So, The city has created a monopoly. This should get interesting. Two men and a truck go to city hall seeking a license for a garbage pick up service and the city refuses to give them one. This is what lawyers live for. There has been no action by the City Council (that I know of) changing the City licensing codes to restrict the issuance of a refuge collection service. As I suggested concerning the lodging tax being collected for the “YMCA” someone may want to get an AG opinion on that one before implementing such a restriction on free enterprise. Selma is one of the few Cities, that I know of, that just does stuff, and to hell with the legality or priority ie. dumping garbage behind the sportsplex, stopping work on the Confederate memorial, being the only city in Alabama to convert their unfunded pension liabilities to a loan using the full faith and credit of the city, and the list goes on. Yep, grease up the presses, this will get interesting. pops

    • popdukes12

      Also, One would have to wonder how many code violations were issued for not having a proper garbage collection service in 2012, and then see how that number goes up after the code enforcement office is used to go around and warn people of an impending citation if they don’t take out the service with Advanced. I don’t believe that code enforcement office is currently being used in this manner, or the city wouldn’t have so much owed to it for garbage collection as it does. pops

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