Convenience centers to be open longer March 1

Published 8:50 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

For the last few months, members of Troup County’s Board of Commissioners have been fielding regular calls concerning trash.

Some of those concerns were addressed on Thursday, when the commissioners heard from county sanitation staff on changes that will soon take affect at county convenience centers. The department hopes to solve one of the most common citizen concerns by increasing the hours that the centers are open starting on March 1. Under the update, the convenience centers will be open significantly longer than they were previously — 87 percent longer according to county staff.

“It is almost 320 more hours (a week), which I think is the most hours that they’ve ever been open,” County Manager Tod Tentler said.

The county sanitation department was able to increase the hours and days of operation without a major cost increase to the county by using unmanned centers that are equipped with trash compactors. The compactors automatically run after the third time the compactor door is closed and are equipped with security cameras to monitor for illegal dumping by non-county citizens or materials that cannot be compacted.

“We’ve made some changes going forward with sanitation, and this is going to make things a whole lot better for the citizens of the county and a whole lot more convenient and accessible with more hours,” said Shane Morris, Troup County shop and convenience center coordinator.

Morris said he began working to improve county convenience centers at the request of the county manager and the public service director just over six months ago when the correctional institute closed in Troup County, and he was moved into his current position. The installation of new equipment and planning took time, but he hopes that the changes will make the convenience centers truly convenient for citizens.

“We are expanding hours, capacity and access for people in the best way we can,” said Dexter Wells, Troup County division director of public services.

The cost of the convenience centers to the county will remain roughly the same as they have been under the old hours since only three people will be employed for the centers.

“We have a supervisor and two assistants over the dumping sites … and these staff members will ensure that all the equipment is operating properly and the grounds are clean and maintained,” Morris said. “They are responsible for cutting the grass, picking up trash that is laying around in the area, so we’ve been doing that for six months now. They will actually perform a function test on the machines to make sure that they are operating properly.”

The unmanned locations also feature signage with the cell phone number of the convenience center supervisor, so citizens who encounter problems will have someone that can be easily reached.

The county staff still saw the need for some locations to remain staffed following the update, so the convenience centers at Loyd-Tatum, the county work camp and the Troup County C + D Landfill will have still have someone on hand to assist people with their trash.

According to Morris, the update will meet his goals for the centers to expand hours of operation, increase days of operation, increase capacity and improve service and equipment while ensuring that the convenience centers remain financially sustainable.

Troup County plans to release a video on its website and Facebook page explaining the new compacters in the near future, but Morris said that the trash compactors should be easy to use even without the video.

In addition to these updates, Commission Chairman Patrick Crews requested that in the future, any changes in holiday hours for the convenience centers be advertised at the centers in advance in addition to where they are currently displayed on the county website and Facebook.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Avenue.