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The latest on trash pickup service changes in Gainesville
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A city of Gainesville garbage collection truck moves along Academy Street Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, on Alta Vista Road. The City of Gainesville is getting set to modify trash collection. - photo by Scott Rogers

Update: Gainesville City Council approved an item at its regular meeting Tuesday, Dec. 6, that reduces trash pickup days from twice weekly to once per week.

Original story: Well, this kinda stinks. 

Trash service for Gainesville residents could change from twice a week to once next year.

The reason is high costs. The city has seen on average a 67% rise in equipment costs in the last five years, an 81% increase in landfill fees and an annual 3% hike for the last 12 years in personnel costs, according to Public Works Director Chris Rotalsky. Gainesville uses Hall County’s landfill for most household waste.

The item will be voted on at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Gainesville Public Safety Complex. If approved, the new service would start Jan. 23, 2023.

In addition to reducing the number of days, the ordinance would also change the designated pickup area for household waste from being collected at a person’s house to curbside pickup for up to 96 gallons of trash. 

“Gainesville has been especially proud to offer top-tier solid waste services for some time now, but unfortunately, the costs of providing that level of service is no longer sustainable with our fee structure,” City Manager Bryan Lackey said. 

Though residents would lose a day of garbage collection under the modified ordinance, the city’s additional can fee will be slashed from $25 to $15 a month, and the $32.10 rate for household solid waste wouldn’t change.

Rotalsky, who briefed city council on the matter at Thursday’s work session, said higher equipment costs and a set of other circumstances, over time, has made the need for modifications in the level of service more apparent. 

“I don’t know of any service or item that I have purchased in the last 12, almost 13 years that has not had an increase in cost,” Rotalsky said. “Everything our operation does is affected by cost increases.”

Service for recycling, curbside waste collection and landscape debris also would remain unchanged with adoption of the ordinance.

A medical waiver is available to customers physically unable to transport a garbage receptacle to the curb. Customers approved for a medical waiver may continue to place the receptacle within 10 feet of the house and visible from the driveway.