County pulls garbage hauler’s permit

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 5, 2008

About 150 Warren County residents will have to find another option for garbage pickup beginning next week.

One of three local haulers in southeast Warren County will have its operating permit pulled because of violations of county ordinances mandating the use of specialized trucks, officials said.

Known customers of Leon Drake will receive notices that his collection permit has been revoked. The notices will have contact information for other service providers. Drake could not be reached.

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“It’s a shame, but the operation just has not stayed modern,” said District 5 Supervisor Richard George, board president.

Warren County does not offer any public waste services, but state law requires the county to monitor private services. A $1.25 surcharge is included in customer bills to pay for county compliance.

In 2004, supervisors, amid complaints of garbage bags and debris falling out of open trucks started requiring closed trucks. The ordinance has cut down on litter, but tends to favor large companies that can afford larger trucks.

Enforcing the ordinance drove the decision to shut Drake down, George said, even as others still skirting the directive were doing a better job of securing their waste loads.

‘It’s a shame, but the operation just has not stayed modern.’




The move comes a week after another small company, Earth Friends Recycling & Disposal, raised rates for its largely northwest Warren County customer base, from $16 to $18 for weekly service. The financially strapped business was based in Tallulah until an interest in the company was sold in March to Fayette Mayor Rogers King, who has made staffing changes since the deal was announced.

In August, Greenville-based Griffin Waste Services was permitted to handle business for any of Earth Friends’ 600 or so accounts in Warren County.

Coordinator Kelly Worthy said the Eagle Lake community, a mix of summer homes and longtime homesteads of older residents, should benefit from the competition.

“They have not had a choice up to now,” Worthy said.

Waste Management Inc. serves most county households and also has the contract to service Vicksburg residents at $17.89 per month for twice-weekly pickup. All garbage collected here is trucked to landfills elsewhere.

Accounting of how many residents appear on county lists as actively paying for garbage service has been under a revamp at least since September 2007, largely through adjusting the county’s master address file accordingly for missing entries. Most often, frequent movers do not notify their providers or the county when they change addresses.

Tallies compiled in January, when accurate totals were most recently compiled, showed 5,420 actively paying households. Waste Management was the largest, with 4,366 customers. Based on most recent Census data showing 10,400 housing units in nonmunicipal Warren County, it leaves nearly 5,000 unaccounted for in the county records.

Households not recorded as having paid the monthly surcharge must provide proof in writing that they are attempting to lawfully dispose of residential and commercial garbage. Permission can be given from the owner of a commercial receptacle and residents can also take it to Waste Management themselves if documented.