No choice on trash —”representatives from Lowndes County”

The VDT went deep under the Lowndes County government’s anonymous cover for an interview with “representatives” who confirmed that unincorporated residents have no choice for trash collection other than the monopoly the Commission granted to a company from New York City.

Jason Schaefer wrote on the front page of the VDT today, County trash ordinance goes into effect Friday: VDT has Q&A with county leadership about new law, burning,

VDT: Lowndes County has said residents aren’t required to sign a service contract with Advanced Disposal. What other services are there in the area, and do they include Deep South Sanitation in Valdosta?

LC: “According to the solid waste ordinance, Advanced Disposal will be the only residential hauler licensed to serve unincorporated Lowndes County. There’s been some confusion about trash collection service in the city. This ordinance is just for unincorporated Lowndes County, not for any of the cities.”

Maybe these were the same “representatives” who sent an unsigned letter saying there were 5,000 residents of unincorporated parts of Lowndes County who didn’t already have curbside service, and they have one choice now: the one-and-only county-appointed purveyor of waste bins. What could possibly go wrong?

VDT: What about dumping trash by the side of the road?

LC: “Lowndes County Code Enforcement successfully prosecutes cases on a monthly basis in the Magistrate Court for illegal roadside dumping. In addition, there are many proactive citizens that will call in with tag numbers when they see other citizens throw trash from their vehicles.

“While this may seem like an option people can get away with, more times than not, these cases are prosecuted successfully. Violators are fined. The amount of the fine is determined case by case by the magistrate. In some cases, where dumping can be so significant that the case is handled by state court, those fines can be thousands of dollars.”

Oh, really? I’ve never heard of any prosecution of any of the people who already dump so much trash (from letters to mattresses and tires) that I had to put up fences and gates to keep them out. And this problem affects those of you in the cities, too: I hear business owners complaining that people come dump stuff in their dumpsters and their parking lots.

The one named “representative” in the article is:

VDT: County Manager Joe Pritchard said the ordinance operates under a state statute that “empowers commissioners to adopt ordinances governing the unincorporated area for the purpose of protecting the public health, safety and welfare.” What is that specific statute?

LC: “It’s in the solid waste ordinance linked on the county’s website, Article 1, Section 1.2.

The VDT then quotes from the passages cited in that ordinance.

Is Pritchard also the “representative” otherwise quoted? Why didn’t the VDT get a quote from the Lowndes County Public Information Officer, who is identified as Paige Dukes by the County’s website front page, by the VDT, and by WCTV?

Where are the Commissioners on this decision: they’re responsible for ignoring the county’s responsibilities to protect public health, safety, and well-being, and granting a monopoly instead, without ever holding a public hearing. Sure, it may be legal according to the statutes cited in the ordinance to which Mr. Pritchard referred the VDT (I am not a lawyer). But does it actually protect the environment or the health, safety, and well-being of the public?

If this ordinance was such a good decision, why is the county government hiding behind the VDT?