Groups To Protest Gwinnett’s New Trash Plan

Too bad Chris Farris fled Gwinnett, he’d be there for sure.

LAWRENCEVILLE — Three political activist groups are joining together Saturday to protest Gwinnett County’s new trash plan, which begins July 1.

The Four Corners Tea Party, FreedomWorks Gwinnett and Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government have organized the protest, which will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the gazebo next to the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse on the Lawrenceville square.

Debbie Dooley, one of the event’s organizers, said the protesters will be urging the Gwinnett County commissioners to repeal the trash plan — and, in particular, remove the bill from homeowners’ property taxes.

“It’s our way of letting the commissioners know we remember their vote and we’re not going to forget it,” said Debbie Dooley, a Dacula resident and the Georgia grassroots coordinator for FreedomWorks. “We want to make sure they are held accountable for their vote.”

The county’s new solid waste program will make trash collection mandatory for all homeowners in unincorporated Gwinnett County. City residents are not affected by the plan.

As part of the program, Gwinnett County has contracted with five private haulers that will each serve a designated area of unincorporated Gwinnett.

The base service fee — which includes weekly trash pickup of household garbage, recycling and pickup of bulky items such as old furniture and white goods such as refrigerators — will be $17.86 per month. Yard waste collection can be purchased from the hauler for an additional fee.

Initially, the county will bill for 18 months of service — the remainder of 2010 and all of 2011. The $321.48 charge will be added to homeowners’ property tax bills, which will be mailed this fall. The county will bill for the trash service on an annual basis starting in 2012.


  1. And on top of this mess, my existing service has terminated my service 3 weeks early. They picked up my trash yesterday and then taken the can, so for the next three weeks I have no place to put my trash. I wonder if I can store it at the justice center until my new service starts.

    • sndeak says:

      Contact the county. They will tell you to contact the new hauler, if you can figure out who it is. They will tell you to contact your old hauler who in turn will tell you to contact the county.

  2. Goldwater Conservative says:

    You are all a bunch of pinko socialists.

    Can’t you see? Somebody stands to make a great deal of money because of the decision the Gwinnett County Commission and you are trying to prevent the free market from working? Politicians bending over for businesses at the expense of the People has proven to be the policy failure of the conservative movement and the GOP (and the blue-dog dems).

    If the “tea” party is going to have any impact in American politics it needs to focus on getting first time candidates elected to local governments first…not reusing old politicians that are latching onto a popular label for the next election.

    • Harry says:

      Maybe you don’t understand what’s happening. It’s not a free market when the service is a government-run bureaucracy is set up as middleman with only a handful of large national trash companies allowed to bid, who – due to lack of competition – are free to in effect rig the bidding process even if illegal to do so. The next step will be union organizing of the workers as with “public” transit, and then the trash fees (taxes) will have to increase and more homeowners will lose their homes, and yet more government programs will be needed. It’s a never-ending story until the golden goose is finally dead.

  3. If Gwinnett County were a stock, I would put a “Hold” rating on it. I’m not yet willing to sell and flee next door to Farris… overall, I like living in this area and hope to see things improve over the long run. However, I could not recommend to anyone with a straight face that they move here right this moment. “Best County Commission That Money Can Buy” isn’t a great sales pitch.

    • Chris says:

      Unless you have money to buy a county commission that is.

      Steve – you can’t move next door, but there is a nice house two down from me that’s available.

  4. DriveByDawg says:

    What galls me the most is the attitude of the commissioners. I have been lectured to (more like lectured at) several times for failure to be engaged in county govt prior to the budget issues last year and then the trash disaster this year. It’s clear that they are all angry that we have finaly started paying attention and, like the DC Dem’s, have decided that what We The People want doesn’t matter. The almighty BOC knows best. Or to quote one member they are making the “big boy decisions.” Seriously?!

  5. Game Fan says:

    Mandatory garbage collection?

    Oh my. I hate being forced to have my garbage picked up, especially when I’m not involved in the process of choosing my “garbage collection provider”. But seriously, where I live this is one less headache to deal with. As far as competition and efficiency, overall you have more efficiency with a competitive bid process and one service for a designated territory. You can’t pretend that the Garbage company won’t save time and fuel and administrative expense doing it this way. And they would in theory pass the savings on to the customer. Now if you really want to foster competition, government has a traditional role in preventing the big companies from continually buying up the competition. Are the bids really competitive or is there some collusion behind the scenes?

    • Your conclusion is propped up by two assumptions:

      (1) there was competitive bidding on the contracts
      (2) business savings are passed on to consumers over the long run

      My understanding is that the first assumption didn’t actually happen. The contracts were handled quietly… and were awarded to trash haulers who had lawsuits pending after the BOC’s last botched attempt at this cartel thing.

      The second assumption is something out of an Ayn Rand science fiction novel. Much like a warp drive, it’s a really cool idea that doesn’t actually work in the real world.

      • Game Fan says:

        Not sure who you’re responding to or what “assumption” you’re talking about. Are you saying collusion between “competitors” never happens? Or between politicians and private vendors? Methinks you may be offended by the idea that I might be criticizing “private industry” but I’m really not sure.

    • Game Fan says:

      As far as competition between DIFFERENT players, back in the ’90s I did inside sales and contacted small and mid-sized companies. The list might say “Billy Joe Bob’s Garbage Service” but many times they’d answer the phone “Wast M——” instead. If they still went by their original name we might still be outta luck. Often we might say that they were now owned by “Waste M———“. Long story short I don’t think I ever landed a small mom-and-pop garbage service. They just weren’t that easy to find.

  6. newsgirl says:

    Every single politician who voted in favor of mandatory garbage collection should be thrown out on their head. Immediately if not sooner.

    In lieu of physically throwning incumbents out of office who voted for this abomination, a candidate who makes a campaign promise to repeal this measure should be found and supported to run and win against each incumbent.

  7. shotgunjohn says:

    Aggh. This isn’t the hill the conservatives need to stand and die on. Good grief! Solid waste removal is a perfectly legit function of local government. Many local governments provide more service for less money – DeKalb comes to mind.

    Lighten up.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      The next thing you know you’ll have to buy your water from the Gwinnett County monoply.

      If this is the tea party working at the local level, they’re history.

      • debbie0040 says:

        Dave, the tea party is getting stronger in Gwinnett and nation wide and we are not going any where. I am sure the county commission would love for us to. We are talking about a BOC that ran as conservatives and are all Republican…They need to start governing like conservatives.

        They recently had to raise our property tax because they kept spending and spending, even though they were warned 6 years ago the revenues coming in could not keep up with their spending. Then there are the infamous land deals and the Gwinnett Braves Stadium…

        One issue is that if you have a vacant property, you are charged for trash collection. Senior citizens often partner together to use one trash provider because they are on limited incomes and don’t use but one bag per week. They now have to pay. There is not way to opt out of trash collection. The trash fee should not be placed on your property tax bill either..

  8. Dave Bearse says:

    To opponents of the concept of government trash pick up relative to Gwinnett’s old system, while simultaneously claiming to support running government more like a business — You were for it, until you were against it.

    The Gwinnett plan has providers that will provide about the same service for the same price, insure that all residences have service, and should reduce County expenses with respect to trash removal.

    Most residential streets will have only one garbage truck through the neighborhood picking up at the same time eash week, instead of a half dozen or more spread across multiple days of the week.

    If its a property tax expense it’s deductible from income for state and federal tax itemizers.

    Sounds like smart business to me.

    • Lady Thinker says:

      Good points. I live in Gwinnett and have mixed feelings. For me, the county price is a bit more, but I am also for having one carrier per area. I just hope the one I get is a good company because I have had major problems with one of the providers.

  9. debbie0040 says:

    Dave, the county is not offering service at a lower rate than the citizens were already paying. Sen. Don Balfour and others addressed that and even bought their bills to prove it.

    If the Gwinnett BOC does not list a separate line for the trash fees, then they will run afoul of the IRS. Only taxes are deductible. In order for it to be deductible, then the BOC will have to call it a tax. Don’t see how they can do that since it has been all over the news that they are adding a trash fee to the property tax bill. Tell me, have members of the BOC been telling citizens that the trash fee will be tax deductible? Please tell who has been doing that?
    It is wrong asking property owners to pay 18 months in advance and putting in their property tax bill. Why not the water bill? It may cost more, but since when is the BOC all of a sudden concerned about costs? What about those that sell thier homes ? What about farmers that have two separate property tax bills? IE: one fo rhtier home and one for thier business?

    The plan also collects fees on vacant homes and properties that don’t use trash collection services. I was contacted by numerous people that have vacant rental homes or property. They called the new trash provider and told them not to leave a trash can because the property was vacant. The trash provider told them they were required to leave one at every house.

    Also, the county could be divided in zones and each zone have a day alloted for trash pickup.

    • btpull says:

      No doubt this is a good deal for the haulers.

      • It eliminates their Bad Debt expense
      • It eliminates their Billing and Collection costs
      • It provides them with captive customers
      • It enables them to be paid for services that they do not provide
      • It provides them with the stability of a pre-paid long term contract without having to offer a substantial discount
      • The savings are Not passed on to the consumers

      It appears that some unsophisticated county officials got taken advantage of by big business in this deal.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      I worte comparable, not lower.

      I don’t live in Gwinnett County and have no idea whether the BoC has claimed the charge would be tax deductible. I doubt that any have made that claim. Tax, fee, whatever—the terms as interchangable to the General Assembly GOP.

      There’s nothing wrong with a one-time 18 month bill. (Please feel free to complain 12 months is too much in advance.) Water is different from trash in that it’s metered, and more frequent billing acts as a check on a faulty metter/underground leak. For my part, I’d be fine with water being billed quarterly or three time per year.

      Sell your home? Pro-rate just as is done with taxes.

      Vacant home. Too bad.

      It’s a residential fee/tax (as far as I know) so unless there’s a guest house on the second property, there’s only bill.

      Instead of six trucks on each street on various days, all six would come on one day—doesn’t much improve anything.

  10. analogkid says:

    I sure hope Roy Barnes is still available to once again rescue you Gwinnettians from government trashcare. 🙂

  11. debbie0040 says:

    Dave, obviously you think it is ok to pay for services you don’t receive. Do you m ake a reugalr practice of doing that? The BOC could have added it to the water bill . After the initial 18 month in advance billing, you will be billed 12 months in advance for the duration of the plan.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      I pay for education. I pay much more than is needed for national defense. I pay for parks and recreation and senior centers I don’t and likely won’t ever you. Nothing new there.

  12. debbie0040 says:

    One trash provider has a lawsuit pending in Federal court over the Constutionality of the plan. A decision is expected June 22…

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