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Starkville may consider swap to garbage bins

 

Starkville Sanitation and Environmental Services Director Calvin Ware talks to aldermen about a potential swap from distributing garbage bags to tip cans during a Friday work session.

Starkville Sanitation and Environmental Services Director Calvin Ware talks to aldermen about a potential swap from distributing garbage bags to tip cans during a Friday work session. Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff

 

David Little, left, and Lynn Spruill

David Little, left, and Lynn Spruill

 

 

Alex Holloway

 

 

Starkville may consider switching from providing garbage bags to residents in favor of 96-gallon tip carts after Starkville Sanitation and Environmental Services Director Calvin Ware and Mayor Lynn Spruill floated the idea during a Board of Aldermen work session on Friday. 

 

Ware, speaking during the work session, said costs are a primary reason for considering the switch to garbage bins. 

 

This year, he said, garbage bags are estimated cost $12 to $14 per roll -- though he said that price can fluctuate based on the price of oil. 

 

"At 12,000 rolls, it's gonna cost us $145,000 maybe -- that's just the lower estimate," Ware said. "... When we order, if we catch the oil prices down, we may get them for $145,000. If we get them on the higher end, we may be looking at $180,000." 

 

Ware said he researched services in 10 other cities in Mississippi. Of those, he said Starkville and West Point distribute bags to residents. Four -- Columbus, Aberdeen, Eupora and Mathiston -- distribute garbage cans. Four other cities -- Jackson, Madison, Greenville and Cleveland -- do not provide either cans or bags. 

 

Should the city look at purchasing tip carts, Ware said, the city could get 12,000 cans for $48 per can. The cost, at $576,000, would be higher than the initial purchase cost of buying bags, but cans would be expected to last 10 years. 

 

The cost for bags over the same period, assuming a $12 per roll price and distribution that remains even at 12,000 rolls, is about $1.44 million. 

 

 

 

'Something to look at' 

 

Ward 3 Alderman David Little said it might be worth having the conversation about tip cans. However, he warned that garbage bags tend to be a controversial subject in Starkville. 

 

"You're talking about a taboo subject, man," Little said. "Talk about garbage bags and people go crazy." 

 

Spruill told The Dispatch the city has in the past looked at changes in how it delivers garbage bags to residents. 

 

"Some of those changes have not been well received," she said. "People get used to things the way they are and when you talk about changing them, sometimes people don't like that." 

 

Still, she said it's worth looking at as a potential cost-saving avenue for the city. 

 

"If we can't save any money they're no point in doing it," Spruill said at Friday's work session. "If it makes it better for us in some way, then that's the analysis of that. Do we want to revisit that? And that's just the question because it comes up about once a term." 

 

Little said aesthetics with the garbage cans could be an issue. He pointed to the Cotton District as an example of an area with a lot of residents that would have a lot of garbage bins to take care of. 

 

"I think back when they implemented the bags it was because in the cotton district area where there's high density -- all these cans out there," he said. "That's something to ponder. You drive around a lot of towns and you see those cans just sitting out on the street." 

 

Spruill said she also saw that as something the city would have to consider, should it move ahead with considering garbage bins -- how to handle lower density R1 residential areas, compared to high-density R5 areas. 

 

Officials also briefly discussed possibly moving to once-per-week garbage pick up, but opted to focus more on garbage bins for the time being. 

 

Ware will continue to look into the matter and may bring it before the board for the Aug. 21 meeting. 

 

Spruill said that, regardless of if the board ultimately decides to go to tip carts or not, she thought it was worth taking a look. 

 

"Every board that I've been involved with since my 2005 year has looked at this issue," she said. "They have not approved, but I think as the cost of bags continue to rises and as our population rises, which means the purchases will rise as well, then it's something we need to look at. I think it's prudent for us to do so.  

 

"We may yet again decide not to," Spruill continued. "But I think just in the sense of paying attention to what you've got going on, it certainly does not hurt to take a look at how we can do the best we can for our department and our residents as well."

 

 

 

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