Macon-Bibb County residents will pay more for garbage collection services beginning next year.
In a 5-3 vote, the County Commission passed a five-year agreement Tuesday that’s part of a solid waste master plan designed to improve recycling and garbage services.
Starting in January, the cost will jump from $15 to $20 per month for residents whose garbage is now collected by Macon-Bibb employees. The increase for those whose trash currently is picked up by Advanced Disposal Services will be a little more steep, increasing from $12.75 to $20 per month.
“That increase is a burden for some people,” said Commissioner Elaine Lucas, who joined Commissioners Bert Bivins and Virgil Watkins in opposing the new countywide contract with Advanced Disposal.
Commissioners Larry Schlesinger, Gary Bechtel, Al Tillman, Ed DeFore and Mallory Jones supported the increase, and Commissioner Scotty Shepherd was absent.
During the 30-minute garbage debate, Bivins and Lucas reiterated their stance that some Macon-Bibb employees likely would lose their jobs in the transition. They had asked for more time to examine the changes before moving forward.
The agreement means that Advanced Disposal will take over picking up residential garbage for all of Bibb County while Macon-Bibb will implement a countywide recycling program. In addition to recycling, the county also will handle the disposal of large amounts of yard waste and bulk items such as furniture.
Bivins said he supports recycling, but he questioned what will happen if it fails.
“If it doesn’t work, we’re putting (Macon-Bibb employees) in a position without a job,” he said.
Mayor Robert Reichert disputed the assertions made by Bivins and Lucas.
“We are disposing in a more environmentally friendly way, and we are not losing any jobs,” Reichert said during the pre-commission meeting Tuesday.
Watkins questioned why commissioners were not getting a cost analysis of whether the change would truly save the county money.
“You also aren’t about to tell me if it’ll equate to a net gain or net loss for the county’s bottom line,” he said.