COVINGTON, Ga. — Due to what city leaders and community residents deemed as questionable service, the Covington City Council voted to deny a proposed rate increase on residential garbage pick up.
Latham Home Sanitation Co., who is contracted to handle the city’s solid waste collection services, requested a rate increase due to various factors, including inflation and increasing operational costs. When the company began serving the city in 2019, the monthly contracted price was $16.15 per residential unit, $8 per additional can and $23.50 for businesses utilizing residential containers.
Despite the hardships of COVID and the restrictions that came with it, Barbara Jarvis, who is a representative of Latham Home Sanitation, told the council April 4 that her company had not requested an increase before and, instead, chose to absorb operational increases. But now that fuel costs have risen, not much more could be absorbed, she said.
The company proposed a $1.60 increase per month, increasing the cost per residential unit to $17.75 per home and $25.10 per commercial account. The proposed extra can rate was increased to $8.80.
Several residents took issue with the proposed increase. Covington resident Lamonté Buchanan opposed the request and said his garbage wasn’t being picked up. Resident Thelma Nolley also was against the increase because her garbage had not been picked up correctly. The increase was not warranted because she was being overcharged, Nolley alleged.
Councilwoman Fleeta Baggett said she had received more calls about trash than any other issues in the city. She asked city staff to conduct a quality control assessment after a route is run.
Councilwoman Susie Keck said she also received calls and photos of trash issues, but she also said there was always an immediate response to her petitions. She believed Latham was doing a good job.
After further discussion, Keck made a motion to approve the requested increase without passing the cost along to the customer, but the motion died for a lack of second.
Councilman Kenneth Morgan then motioned to approve the rate increase as initially requested by Latham. After a second motion from Keck, the council voted 4-2, denying the request. Keck and Morgan were the only ‘yea’ votes.
The council also heard a request from Waste Management for a rate increase on commercial solid waste services. After Baggett discussed issues she has witnessed concerning inconsistent dumping of dumpsters and bags hanging on dumpsters, no action was taken by the council.
The council is expected to revisit the increase requests at a later date.