Council: Trash trucks keep breaking down

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The Selma City Council’s capital equipment committee met Monday to discuss issues concerning trash pickup.

Committee chairwoman Jannie Thomas was present for the meeting alongside committee members Sam Randolph and Michael Johnson and Selma Mayor Darrio Melton’s chief of staff Ollie Davison.

The city’s trash trucks, which are nearing 20 years old, break down often, leaving them out of service until repairs can be made. The number of operating trucks has been as low as one truck at times.

While a private company, Sea Coast Disposal, handles household garbage pickup, the city still maintains routes for leaves, limbs, furniture and other junk.

The committee discussed the benefits of hiring an in-house mechanic that would be an employee of the city.

“We need a good in-house mechanic who can focus on our capital equipment,” Randolph said.

Another option would be to lease trucks or even purchase them if additional revenue can be found.

The city council has discussed raising property taxes, businesses licenses and other new streams of revenue.

“We can’t have it both ways. If the people want things to improve they have to allow us to create revenue,” Johnson said. “The city runs off taxes. We can’t go to the White House and ask for more money. Everyone would be much happier with money that was generated specifically for infrastructure and city services.”

Thomas believes communication about trash pick up has been poor too, which has angered residents even further. Thomas claims many of the phone calls she receives are from people concerned about the trash.

“Communication of trucks that are out of service has to be better,” Thomas said. “I also want everyone to see on paper what we are spending money on. We have to be able to give people an answer to their questions.”

Chief of staff Davison echoed Thomas’ desire for better communication and agreed with the council that providing updates through different media outlets could help alleviate confusion about delays in routes.