Jefferson County

Ouch! Pain at the Garbage Bin Comes to Residents of Unincorporated Jefferson County

(Source: AmWaste)

Pain at the pump will be felt at the garbage bin for residents of unincorporated Jefferson County.

The Jefferson County Commission on Tuesday approved an emergency contract amendment with AmWaste, the franchise holder for residential garbage pickup in unincorporated parts of the county. The amendment allows the company to establish its rates based on fuel costs, which are based on the Alabama Department of Transportation Fuel Index, and the consumer price index.

For instance, residential customers with regular trash pickup will see an increase of about $30 on their quarterly bills – $39 if they also have yard waste pickup.

Jefferson County will perform a quarterly review and adjustment of rates with AmWaste. That means that if gas prices go down, the rates could go back down.

“We know the citizens of Jefferson County are getting hit hard with inflation and gas prices and we certainly don’t want to add to it,” County Manager Cal Markert said. “But this was the most fair and equitable way for the company to continue to service residents during this difficult time.”

Jefferson County contracted with AmWaste after the company was the lowest bidder in a public bid process a year and a half ago. The original contract allowed for an increase not to exceed 3% annually for inflation.

That provision was amended to an increase based on the consumer price index and fuel index. The inflation rate in 2021 was 7%; that, along with skyrocketing fuel prices, has created an unsustainable business position for AmWaste.

Jefferson County faced potential delays in collection, which would create a public health situation.

“We are working on longer term solutions,” Markert said, “but this will at least keep the service in place until we’ve had time to thoroughly vet our options.”