MARIETTA — Ever since a series of mergers this year among the trash haulers that operate in Cobb, the county has fielded complaints from residents who say their service has been subpar or was abruptly canceled.
The county does not operate trash pickup services of its own, instead issuing permits to private businesses that can operate in Cobb.
But county officials met with the haulers in October to find solutions to reported service issues, according to west Cobb Commissioner Keli Gambrill, the Board of Commissioners’ liaison to the public service division.
Gambrill addressed the issue Tuesday after one county resident said his hauler was seeking a 10% rate increase. Speaking at the end of the board’s meeting, Gambrill said the county does not determine collection rates but has been meeting with service providers to find a solution to residents’ issues.
“Unfortunately some of those haulers have begun to paint this process as a trash tax on citizens,” she said. “Such language is not accurate and may be a result of some haulers giving their customers selective information received from our meetings with these haulers.”
Part of those discussions, she continued, involved “a fee, not a tax” that the haulers may charge their customers.
In an email to her constituents on Friday, Gambrill went into greater detail.
“One potential solution presented by Cobb County staff was an environmental sustainability fee of 10% on qualified hauler’s gross sales,” she said. “If ever assessed, the fees would handle the impact of more trash trucks on our roads, better trash management, recycling, illegal dumping, litter control, and other waste consequences due to population growth. The fee concept is nothing new and has worked successfully in surrounding municipalities. The permitted haulers were not supportive of this fee.”
Gambrill stressed that nothing has been decided as of yet.
East Cobb commissioner Bob Ott said a fee might have unintended consequences.
“A lot of (haulers) are the mom and pops,” he said. “They should not be penalized because the big hauler isn’t doing the service they promised. We don’t want to drive the small haulers out of business in trying to solve a problem with the large hauler.”
All of the complaints his office has fielded have concerned the company American Disposal Services, which was involved in some of the mergers.
County spokesman Ross Cavitt estimated Friday that 90% of the complaints concerning garbage collection have been from customers of American Disposal.
County organizations involved in the effort are the office of public services, the division of solid waste and Keep Cobb Beautiful.
In other business, commissioners on Tuesday approved:
♦ The installation of a new playground at Sweat Mountain Park, two miles north of Lassiter High School for $34,000. The old equipment had been removed by parks department staff after reaching the end of its “safe and useful life,” according to county documents.
♦ More than $650,000 in furniture for the Switzer Library in downtown Marietta, which is currently under renovation. The money will come from the 2016 penny sales tax.