DeKalb County says three-fourths of the residents taking part in a pilot study of once-weekly garbage pickups support the program.
But Dunwoody resident Bill Nefsky isn’t one of those who’ve been converted.
“I think for those who want once-a-week pickup, great, but I think it’s a real step backward for the county and will create health and safety issues,” he said. “It’s not a clean situation.”
Nefsky said he was accidentally added to the pilot program and had to fight for months to get back to twice-weekly trash pickup.
He said his trash wasn’t picked up at all for about 2 ½ weeks, and he and his neighbors are upset with the service provided by trash handlers.
But the DeKalb County Sanitation Department has to spend less money or raise its fees, Assistant Director Billy Malone told members of Dunwoody City Council in July.
The test program, operated in selected neighborhoods across the county, was to determine whether the sanitation department could find a way to avoid raising rates by improving its efficiency.
“If we’re going to be sustainable as a department we have to cut costs,” Malone said.
Malone said picking up waste and recyclables on the same day and going down each street one time, but in separate trucks, would help reduce the cost of fuel.
In establishing 10-hour days, four days a week, Malone said he felt the sanitation department would be more efficient.
Malone said sanitation department surveys found “overwhelming acceptance” of the weekly pickups after some initial pushback.
He said a recommendation on continuing once-weekly pickup would be made by Jan. 1.
Once a decision is made, pickup will either continue twice weekly or switch county-wide to the weekly system.
Dunwoody City Councilman Terry Nall said he hopes a compromise can be found.
“From what I observed, the pilot program was not as flawless as the service we previously received from DeKalb Sanitation,” Nall said.
“Rarely did a week go by that I wasn’t on the telephone with the DeKalb Sanitation pilot hotline on behalf of a neighborhood somewhere in Dunwoody.”
Dunwoody resident Wayne Radloff said initially he supported the idea of once-weekly trash pickup, but blames a failure of DeKalb County leadership in the program’s execution.
“Prior to the program, my trash and recyclable materials were always collected promptly and professionally,” Radloff said.
He added that the crews were friendly and enthusiastic, and that everything was collected by 10 a.m.
“During the pilot program, materials were always collected late, sometimes right at sunset (in the summer months, I might point out),” Radloff said.
“The crews looked worn out and beat up. Most of these men were the same men who were previously friendly and enthusiastic.”
Malone said a recommendation on continuing once-weekly pickup or not will be available Jan. 1.
Malone said once a decision is made, pickup will either continue twice weekly or switch county-wide to the weekly system.
But Nefsky said he wants to pay extra to continue the twice-weekly pickups.
“I’m happy to pay an extra $30 to $50 bucks a year,” Nefsky said. “There are certain things you can cut expenses on, but this isn’t one of them. I want it clean.”