LaGrange to transfer ownership of commercial sanitation

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, April 17, 2019

As of June 1, 2019, the City of LaGrange will no longer service dumpsters — commercial or otherwise — due to a LaGrange City Council, Solid Waste Management Authority decision to sell commercial sanitation assets, including trucks built for the purpose.

On Monday, the City of LaGrange accepted an offer of $3 million from LaGrange Sanitation Services to purchase the city’s commercial sanitation assets. According to information discussed during the meeting, residential garbage pickup, recycling, large household items and yard waste removal will not be impacted by the sale. Additionally, businesses that use a grey or blue rolling trash bin similar to the residential trash bins will continue to receive service from the City of LaGrange with no disruption in service.

The members of the LaGrange City Council are also members of the Solid Waste Management Authority, and the Solid Waste Management Authority has not met as such since Jeff Lukken was mayor. Council members confirmed that businesses should not expect any gap in service, but businesses will likely be required to sign a new service agreement with LaGrange Sanitation Services.

“My concern is that whoever we choose will treat our customers as well as we’ve treated them as the City of LaGrange,” Council Member Willie Edmondson said. “[We] depend on those companies being treated right for them to stay here.”

City Manager Meg Kelsey said that the majority of the City of LaGrange’s commercial sanitation customers do not have an active contract with the city, so they will be free to choose another provider if the other provider offers better service. Commercial customers will however be contacted to ensure that they receive continuous service.

“During that [transition] month, they will be contacting customers where the [dumpsters] are to secure service with customers,” Kelsey said.

Several council members said that they had received questions on the decision’s impact on residential services since it was first discussed during a City Council Retreat in March, and they confirmed during the meeting that residential customers will receive the same service as usual.

“When we are talking about residential and commercial, we are talking about the physical can,” LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said. “We the city will no longer be servicing the big cans, the dumpsters, whether they are front-loaded or roll-off or two yard cans. All we will be servicing will be the hand-rolled grey or blue trash cans.”

Council Member Nathan Gaskin asked how large construction waste on residential properties will be handled under the new system, and LaGrange Public Works Director Dion Senn said that instead of getting a dumpster from the city, property owners would get a dumpster from LaGrange Sanitation Services. It is not allowable under the city ordinance to dump construction waste on by the road, although the city is aware that some property owners do.

Council Member Tom Gore asked what would happen to the six city employees in the commercial sanitation department. Kelsey said the employees should receive job offers from LaGrange Sanitation Services, but they will also be welcomed to other city positions.

“They can apply to any job that we have currently available,” Kelsey said. “We have six or seven available right now in the landscape department and the street department, so typically not driving trucks. … They do have those options.”

According to city press release, the money from the sale of commercial sanitation assets will be set aside to be used toward the post closure of the city’s landfill. The reduction in commercial waste is expected to extend the life of the city landfill by roughly 20 years.

Citizens or businesses with questions are encouraged to call (706) 883- 2100.