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Statesboro trash fees could rise
City Council holds regular meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday
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    Statesboro residents could see a minor change in solid waste collection fees as city leaders look for ways to manage hefty trash piles being left for pickup.
    After receiving complaints about not removing all portions of curbside yard-waste piles that exceed collection regulations limiting the size and weight of loads, public works officials are proposing regulations be lifted and all curbside trash picked up within the city.
    The move would require additional equipment and personnel to handle the bigger loads, and call for a minimal monthly increase — $2.35 per month — to collection rates, officials say.
    Statesboro City Council will review the idea when members hold their regularly scheduled meeting at
9 a.m. today in City Hall.
    “The ordinance we have in place says we will pick up only certain amount of trash,” City Manager Frank Parker said in a discussion about the issue during council’s last meeting. “But we are getting a lot of complaints because a lot more waste than we allow for is being deposited in the streets by certain individuals.”
    Currently, regulations limit yard-waste piles to 4 feet by 8 feet by 4 feet. Also, piles can not exceed 400 pounds.
    Officials said piles sometimes exceed the limits.
    “The challenge is: people are bringing yard waste to the curb in different ways. Some do it weekly or biweekly. Some do it once a year. So some piles are quite considerable in size,” Parker said.  “We have had numerous calls and requests that we pick up more. If people put it on the street, we need to be able to pick it up.”
    Adding to the pile sizes, he said, are other items such as refrigerators and scrap metal, which people assume the city will collect — currently, public works employees are picking up all items, and still considering how best to handle materials that are not yard waste. 
    City Engineer Robert Cheshire proposes eliminating the size requirements to allow for all waste at a site to be picked up in one instance, rather than requiring multiple stops at a single location.
    “We tried to limit what we pick up so we could stay on a regular rotation and get to everyone within every couple of weeks,” Cheshire said. “But the larger piles are causing us to get behind schedule.”
    To lift regulations and pick up all the yard-waste residents can throw at the city, Cheshire said upgrades will necessary.
    “By adding one piece of equipment and one crew I think we can keep up with what I believe citizens are expecting us to do,” he said. “We just need a small increase to cover that.”
    The proposal to be reviewed by council today would add one additional collection truck to the public works fleet and a two-man crew.
    To cover the expenses, residential solid waste collection fees would increase from $15 to $17.35 per month. The new rates would remain consistent with solid waste collection rates for other comparable cities in the state, Cheshire said.
    “People expect their yard trash to be removed,” Councilman Gary Lewis said. “If it requires an increase, I think people will be OK with that.”
    The new policy, if approved, would still require tree trunks, limbs, branches, or shrubs be less than 6 inches in diameter, 6 feet in length, and weigh no more than 60 pounds each — so they can be safely handled by personnel and equipment.
    In other business today, council will consider the purchase of a $420,510 landfill compactor and review a motion to rezone property at 520 Park Ave. to allow for residential housing.
    An executive session to discuss personnel matters and potential land acquisition is scheduled to conclude the meeting.
    Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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