Council discusses city’s ongoing issue with garbage pickup

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, March 9, 2017

Selma City Council members acknowledged a major garbage problem in the city Thursday night during a work session and are planning to look at ways to solve it.

Councilwoman Miah Jackson, who recently started a litter free program in Ward 3, brought the issue up, and said a viable solution needs to be found.

“I had it as a business item so we can put it in committee and that we can discuss and come up with a solution of what’s going to work for the entire city because what we have now is not working,” Jackson said. “It’s not to criticize anyone. It’s just that it’s broken, and we need to fix it.”

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The city has a contract with Sea Coast Disposal to pick up household garbage. A city ordinance requires all households to sign up for garbage service.

Sea Coast has been picking up garbage in Selma since February 2016, but the company has had issues all along getting people to sign up and continue paying their monthly garbage bill, which is $20 per month.

The company has had to take cans from customers who have stopped paying, which Jackson said has created even more issues.

“I followed the truck around with a U-Haul on several streets as they picked up trash cans, and now there is more trash than ever,” she said Thursday night after the work session. “I understand they have to have the fees, but that leaves us as a city with more garbage.”

Jackson said she understands they are a business that can’t give away their services for free, but a solution needs to be found. Other council members chimed in, agreeing with Jackson that garbage is becoming a major issue.

“We have a crisis in Selma. There is garbage everywhere. We are going to run into a health problem,” said Councilman Johnny Leashore. “We can’t just sit here and do nothing.”

Several council members tossed around suggestions that included cameras, court and even community service.

“Court is an option, but once we get them in court, and they’re declared indigent, all we’ve done is waste the court’s time,” Jackson said. “And they’re going to be declared indigent because they meet the requirements.”

Councilwoman Susan Youngblood suggested ordering people that don’t comply to do community service.

“The ones that can’t pay, well they can just do community service, and they can wear a vest saying, ‘I am a trashy person,’” Youngblood suggested. “Just ride through Tennessee, and you’ll see people picking up trash wearing vests saying I’m a drunk driver, I am a thief, you know. There is no reason why we can’t have them doing community service.”

The issue was sent to the council’s General Service Committee, which is chaired by Councilman Sam Randolph.

“We’re just looking for solutions. We’re not pointing the finger,” Jackson said. “We just want to see how we can make a difference because what we’re doing is not working, and we can’t continue to that.”