A pilot program of reduced trash services begins today, meaning for the next eight weeks residents can only expect their garbage to be picked up once a week.
Recycling service will not be affected by the program.
How the new program will affect residents’ regular garbage pickup is unknown, said Gainesville’s Solid Waste superintendent, Dan Owen.
This week’s collection cycle will play out simply, he said. Customers whose garbage is collected on Mondays and Thursdays will have their normal Monday pickup with no Thursday collection.
Customers whose garbage is collected on Tuesdays and Fridays will not have a Friday collection.
The next seven weeks of the pilot program are a little more uncertain, and Owen asks that customers be patient as the Solid Waste Division irons out the kinks.
With the amount of garbage Owen expects will pile up in the first week, he says the regular one-day routes might take longer.
The result could be that Monday’s trash could be picked up on Tuesday.
“Next week, with the volume (of garbage) that’s out there, I don’t know how far they’re going to get before they have to stop,” Owen said.
If residents have more trash than normal, trucks will become full sooner and will have to make more frequent trips to the landfill, Owen said.
The pilot program will run until June 10. After the program ends, city officials will then hold two public meetings — one at 5:30 p.m. July 15 at the Georgia Mountains Center and at 5:30 p.m. July 22 at the Gainesville Civic Center — to discuss the results and how to move forward with changes to the city’s trash collection service.
The decision to begin the pilot program came after council members and city officials received a flood of e-mails and phone calls about a proposal the council had initially approved in March.
On March 16, the council voted 4-1 to cut trash service to a weekly curbside pickup and make city employees responsible for picking up residents’ recycling. The proposal was meant as a solution to trash collection rates that needed to be increased annually and to help the Solid Waste Division operate off user fees instead of tax dollars, but city officials put the plan on hold earlier this month.