Public Works dealing with trash truck issues

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The Selma city government is currently exploring options to improve its trash service offered to residents after the trash routes and schedules are no longer operating under a normal routine.

Previously having five trash trucks for city, the trucks in circulation are now down to three. According to city councilwoman Jannie Thomas, one truck is currently out of service due to motor issues, while another is gone for good. This leaves three trucks to cover the same area, causing complications in trash employees’ routes and confusion in their routine schedules. The discontent in the public eye has grown into concern over their trash.

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Multiple options are being considered to stave off the problem. Mayor Darrio Melton and his staff are keeping an open dialogue with city council members to consider possibilities. According to Melton, he has discussed with the council dating back to last April about his interest in the city buying another trash truck, rather than having to constantly maintain used trucks, which has been a problem as well.

“There are a lot of maintenance costs associated with these trash trucks,” Melton said. “I think replacing a truck is way better than what it costs for maintenance of old ones.”

In order to maintain these trucks in-house, the city would need to hire a mechanic, which Melton said would cost at a minimum of $60,000. The mechanic would also need numerous certifications, such as working with diesel, and would more than likely need to be someone in the Dallas County area. This also does not include additional maintenance costs that could arise in the future.

Compared to the minimum $60,000 a mechanic would cost the city, a new trash truck would cost around $100,000, according to Melton.

The maintenance of these trucks is costing the city money from two different ways: the original cost and the additional cost of having to hire someone outside of the city payroll. Without a mechanic employed by the city, maintenance costs a little extra each time a truck breaks down, which seems to happen more and more frequently in Thomas’ eyes, who believes a city mechanic is needed.

Deciding between a mechanic, truck or something else, Melton made sure to emphasize that the city council has final say over what happens with the funds as it relates to this situation, and much of the decision making depends on what the public wants to do. The council may have to find new ways of generating more revenue in order to afford their options.

However, councilwoman Thomas is wary about making a decision until she knows the specifics over how much money they have at their disposal, which Thomas says is still unknown.

“We can’t buy anything until our financial situation is figured out. We need to know what we have and how much of it,” Thomas said. “The city used to have its own mechanic, but now trucks are being repaired in other places. We need a licensed mechanic.”

Thomas says that she does not know how much money the city council has in order to deal with this issue, but is willing to work with the mayor to figure out this problem. She also said that the return of the fourth truck in circulation will still not guarantee a return to normal trash routes and times.

However, Mayor Melton reminds the residents of Selma that they are forgetting one positive aspect of their trash service: it is free.

Furthermore, Melton says that nothing will be decided without the input from Selma residents.

“We are one of the only cities that provides free trash service to its people, while other cities may have to pay both a garbage and trash fee,” Melton said. “This all depends on where the council and citizens want to go with the different options under consideration.”

The concern over the trash routes is being brought up at the next city council meeting, according to Thomas.