AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – When it comes to calls to Augusta 311, complaints about garbage are at the top of the list. The City’s contract haulers are held responsible for misses but right now, they’re not.
For the most part it works, trash goes to the curb and then into the truck, but not always.
“Every now and again I do get a call that they missed a pickup. It’s very rare, but it does happen,” said Commissioner John Clarke.
When it happens, the City’s trash, contract kicks in. It states haulers face paying damages for things like missed pickups, truck leaks, litter from trucks, and mixing loads. And the fines for repeated violations get quite high.
Last year, during the height of the pandemic, commissioners voted to waive these penalties. But, last week with things getting better they voted to waive them again.
“In the last three months there’s been about $55,000 in these liquidated damage charges issued on these haulers. A lot of it has to do with staffing shortages because of COVID,” said Commissioner Brndon Garrett, who chairs the Engineering Services Committee.
The financial penalties were put in the contracts to hold haulers accountable. Now, commissioners have removed this valuable tool.
“As a commission we said, you know let’s take a look at this because the garbage pickups were impacted, because of people not being at work and missing work,” said Commissioner John Clarke.
Broken and damaged trash bins can lead to fines, but is this always the haulers’ fault? Some of these carts have been on the street for years.
You’ve got eight-year-old carts sitting on the street and they’re getting brittle. They’re breaking, that’s one thing we’ll have to look at as a commission. At what point do we start replacing carts and not make the carriers have the burdens of those?” said Commissioner Garrett.
Though commissioners have waived the damages for the haulers, how long is something they did not say?
Garret says the commission will be going back to correct that.