City hires contractor to pick up trash on Beltline, Sixth Avenue
August 6 — Beltline Road and Sixth Avenue in Decatur will soon look cleaner after the city hired a contractor this week to immediately start picking up trash along both routes.
L&L Outdoor Services, the city’s new independent contractor, will use a three-man crew to pick up trash on Sixth Avenue / US 31, from the southern city limits to the Hudson Memorial Bridges over the Tennessee River, and on the belt, from the west side of Sixth Avenue to Alabama 20.
The garbage collection goes hand in hand with Mayor Tab Bowling’s plan to also increase the amount of mowing and pruning along the Beltline and Sixth Avenue, the city’s busiest routes. The additional mowing has yet to be approved by the board.
Bowling said the further improvement to Sixth Avenue and the Belt Line is a pilot program that it hopes will gradually be rolled out to other areas of the city.
“It’s a starting point,” Bowling said. “When I lower the seat belt and look at the medians where the street sweeper can’t reach, I see areas where it will help pick up the trash by hand. It will make a huge difference as I’m sure it would apply around town. “
City council voted 4-1 Monday to award the waste collection contract to L&L. The Hartselle company won the contract as the sole bidder, which enabled the city to negotiate a one-year contract for $ 156,000. The expense will be split between the 2021 fiscal budget, which ends September 30, and the 2022 budget.
Councilors Carlton McMasters and Kyle Pike said a trash program has been one of the top requests from residents since they joined council in November.
“This is something we’ve heard a lot about from the residents,” McMasters said. “I am for anything that will beautify our city.”
Pike said he hoped the city could extend the cleanup to other busy routes while using inmates in other areas.
Bowling said the offer “came in a little higher than expected” because of hourly wages. For $ 3,000 per week, L&L will use a team of three men, one driving a vehicle with a trailer behind two workers picking up the garbage.
“We originally thought it would be $ 20 man-hour and the bid was $ 25 man-hour,” Bowling said.
The mayor said the city is considering using inmates from the Alabama Department of Corrections, who each cost $ 20 per day, but that would require hiring a supervisor for an estimated salary of $ 40,000 more social benefits. The city would also need to purchase a truck with a trailer plus the cost of gasoline.
“We think L&L is better suited for what we want to do,” Bowling said.
Pike said he doesn’t like the contractor’s rate going up $ 5 an hour, but he understands.
“You just have to look at the labor pool and companies are struggling to find employees,” Pike said. “If you want people to do the job, sometimes you have to pay a little more.”
Bowling said city council will need to approve its plan to mow the beltline and Sixth Avenue medians and rights-of-way every week at an upcoming meeting. Craft’s Landscapes, an independent contractor, now mows both roads twice a month, weather permitting, for $ 6,400 per cut.
Buying agent Charles Booth said Craft’s had about 18 months left on a contract that began in March 2019. Craft’s initially had a one-year contract with a two-year option that the city chose to renew.
Bowling said Craft’s has agreed to begin weekly mowing and trimming of both routes for an additional $ 25,600 for the remainder of fiscal 2021.
The mayor’s plan stems from suggestions from former Fairhope mayor Tim Kant, who council hired at a cost of $ 1,500 per month plus expenses. He was hired on the recommendation of State Senator Arthur Orr and State Representative Terri Collins, both of Decatur.
Kant provides suggestions to bowling and city managers on how they could improve the city. A trained horticulturist, one of Kant’s specialties is beautification.
City Councilor Billy Jackson, who opposed hiring Kant, voted against the garbage collection resolution. He did not specify his reason for opposing it.
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