Walker County Commission

Chairman decides garbage rate vote

Residential rate will now be $47 per quarter


After a tie vote from members of the Walker County Commission, Chairman Steve Miller cast the deciding vote Monday to raise residential garbage rates in the county by a little more than 10 percent to $47 per quarter.

District 2 Commissioner Jeff Burrough and District 3 Commissioner Jim Borden voted in favor of the $47 per quarter rate, while District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis and District 4 Commissioner Steven Aderholt voted against the proposal. 

The vote comes after the commission voted last week to continue to operate residential garbage services. At that time, the approval of rates and equipment was tabled. 

Commissioners were given two rate options to choose from before the vote, either $44.94 per quarter, which was the rate that had also been given by a private company if it had taken over residential garbage service in the county. The other number was the option that was approved at $47 per quarter.

Davis said the margin for the county to try to purchase needed equipment and operate solid waste at $44.94 was “razor-thin,” citing the difference in a private company using that price and the county using that price.

John Dunagan, county solid waste director, said it could be done based on the numbers provided. Davis said a loss ratio for lost customers wasn’t included in his opinion, which led him to believe it would fall short of the needed revenue to break even. 

Miller said he agreed with Davis.

When the vote came, Davis and Aderholt, who both had been proponents of bidding the residential service to a private business, voted “no” on the rate increase.

Before the discussion on the rates, Aderholt had asked that the topic under old business, which was labeled “solid waste new rate and equipment purchase proposal,” be taken from one item on the agenda and divided into two items.

“It is all procedural, but I think these are two different decisions,” he said.

The rate vote also included an increase in commercial services to $100 for a 4-yard container and $150 for an 8-yard container with the county hoping to phase out all 2- and 6-yard containers.

The commission did unanimously approve the equipment purchase and financing for solid waste. That equipment included a roll-off truck, two side-loader trucks, a front-loader truck and 20 roll-off containers. The total price for that equipment is $1,000,079 with a quarterly payment due of $46,406.49.

The commission also approved posting a job for a full-time driver for solid waste. That person is expected to operate the roll-off truck. The county’s paperwork showed that driver Is budgeted for $59,000 per year.

In other action from the meeting, the commission:

• Approved Avenu (RDS) contracts.

• Approved an Airport Coronavirus Response Grant Program.

• Approved the hiring of two part-time public service workers for the animal shelter.