Trash talking: City holds first meeting on move to Sea Coast

Published 11:25 pm Thursday, November 12, 2015

The city of Selma hosted the first of a series of seven meetings Thursday night to inform citizens about changes being made to garbage service.

The city recently reached an agreement with Sea Coast Disposal to take over for Advanced Disposal, who opted not to renew its contract with the city due to more than half of its customers failing to pay for services.

Mayor George Evans, along with representatives from Sea Coast, discussed the timeline of when citizens can start signing up for service as well as how the company will handle garbage pickups.

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Sam Issacs, operations manage for Sea Coast, said the company will host a signup day for each ward. Each signup event will last from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Ward one residents will sign up on Nov. 21, and each Saturday following will be for wards two through eight. The last signup event will be Jan. 9.

Isaacs said Selma residents will also be able to sign up online if they miss the signup event for their ward.

Some of the changes people can expect when Sea Coast takes over in February 2016 are the price and pickup days.

Evans said the price is going up from $15 per month to $20, which was a concern citizens shared with city and Sea Coast officials during the meeting.

Another concern was what Sea Coast and the city will do for people who don’t pay for garbage service or even sign up for it.

According to Evans, it is required by ordinance that every residence signs up for garbage service. Evans said those who don’t could be taken to court and penalized.

Isaacs said Sea Coast will be responsible for collecting money for bills that go unpaid, but the city will be responsible for enforcing its ordinance to require citizens to have garbage service.

It was estimated that 3,000 of around 6,000 residents that were signed up for service with Advanced Disposal did not pay their bills, which is why Advanced opted not to renew its contract unless the city made changes to help ensure people paid for services.

Councilman Cecil Williamson said a lot of the burden will fall on the city to make sure people who don’t have service get it and people who get it and stop paying start abiding by the city’s ordinance.

Another difference will be a local office. Councilman Greg Bjelke said a lot of citizens complained that it was difficult to get in touch with Advanced Disposal.

Isaacs said Sea Coast will have a Selma office where the old Wal-Mart was on Highland Avenue. Isaacs said the office should open in December.

“I want everyone to be much more pleased with [Sea Coast] than they are with the current service,” Bjelke said. “I’m glad to know that y’all are going to have an office here in town.”

Sea Coast’s carts will be tan in color and will only be delivered to customers who sign up for service. Dale Purdie, who is the project manager for Sea Coast in Selma, said one of the unique things about their carts is a radio frequency that allows drivers to know what carts belong to which houses.

Purdie said if a cart goes missing, they can easily be returned with a handheld reader that will tell them where the cart belongs.

Pickups will be Tuesday through Friday. The only change will be wards that had pickups on Monday will be moved to Friday.

Sea Coast will start delivering carts Jan. 25, and the first day of service will be Tuesday, Feb. 2.

The dates for the other town halls are:

*Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. at Sophia P. Kingston Elementary School

*Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at Cedar Park Elementary School

*Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center

*Jan. 4 at 6 p.m. at Payne Elementary School

*Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. at Morgan Academy

*Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. at R.B. Hudson Middle School

Evans and Sea Coast encourage all citizens to attend the meetings and ask questions about the change of service.