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Hartselle mayor wants city to collect garbage

By Deangelo McDaniel
DAILY Staff Writer

dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Mayor Dwight Tankersley just wanted to improve how Hartselle collects yard waste.

But, by the end of his conversation with Street Department Superintendent Byron Turney, the mayor decided that it is economically feasible for the city to collect garbage.

Tankersley will ask the City Council today during its 3 p.m. work session to consider spending or borrowing $1.2 million to put Hartselle in the garbage and yard-waste collection business.

"This is not something that I thought about overnight," the mayor said. "I've been looking at this for at least six months. We get a lot of complaints about yard debris pickup."

The mayor's PowerPoint presentation will ask the council to purchase three garbage trucks, build a transfer station, employ three workers, and buy a used truck to haul garbage from Hartselle to the Morgan County Landfill near Trinity.

Homeowners would continue to pay $9.50 per month for garbage service and would receive two bins, one for garbage and one for yard waste.

The city has a contract with Morgan County Environmental Services for garbage collection. Browning-Ferris Industries has the curbside recycling contract and will continue to provide that service, Tankersley said.

The mayor's proposal is similar to one former Councilman Don Hall made in November 2003. Hall wanted Hartselle to buy a truck to collect yard waste. The truck he proposed has a robotic arm that the driver operates from inside the vehicle.

Hall estimated that it would cost between $400,000 and $450,000 to buy the truck and 96-gallon waste bins for every Hartselle home.

But the majority of council members then in office went against Hall's proposal on two fronts. First, members said the city's inert landfill is near capacity, and the city might have to close the landfill if Hartselle did not purchase additional property.

Second, the council majority did not think the truck could serve the entire city because the bins have to sit on a flat surface and most homes are on an elevation.

Tankersley said his initial plan was to buy one truck and do only debris removal. But after talking with Turney, the mayor said, he determined that the city had to do debris and garbage pickup to justify the investment.

"We're going to have the trucks, so it makes no sense to use them for just debris removal," Tankersley said.

If the council agrees with his plan, the mayor said, he will move forward with financial options.

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