Lamar County residents could soon see automated trash pickup in their county, all working to rid the county of litter and save tax dollars in the long run.
During Thursday’s board of supervisors meeting, a 5-0 vote passed to accept bids on the type of garbage can needed for automated trucks.
“This is big, and this is a lot of changes,” Lamar County District 4 Supervisor Phillip Carlisle said. “We’re looking to save the county money on man power.”
The trash cans will hold nearly 100 gallons of trash and would cost the county roughly $46 apiece. According to Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits, roughly 15,300 would be needed to cover the number of rooftops in the county.
Currently the county operates with seven garbage trucks covering the county, and Carlisle said changing to the side-arm automatic-loading one manned truck would be a big move for the county.
“This is certainly the biggest transition since I’ve been on the board,” Carlisle said. “You’ve got guys on the back of trucks in the cold, the heat, and there are all kinds of close calls, and I’d like to see the board move forward with it.”
Lamar County Sanitation director Danny Young informed the supervisors that the cans have a “bitter taste” injected into them, meaning dogs, rats, raccoons bite into them, they will just leave them alone.
The county would provide the first can for residents, but if additional cans are needed will likely be purchased by the residents.
District 5 Supervisor Dale Lucus raised concerns for residents who live in rural areas and live more than 100 yards from the roadway, questioning the weight of the can and difficulties carrying it to the roadside.
Waits said it could be several months before supervisors select a company to buy the cans from, then making the first phase to assign cans to each household.
“These cans also can come with a chip in them, that way we can not only keep track of them, but if they turn up missing, we know where they are, it’s a little bit extra of a cost, but it's minimal in the overall cost,” Carlisle said.
The county would move forward with buying two new automated trucks, and the remaining five that are in the county would be phased out over time.
“We have to take bids on the trucks to know the exact cost, they run around $50,000 more than the $150,000 trucks we have now,” Carlisle said.
Waits added that through the few years it would take to roll out the new trucks and implement the full plan they will eventually see roughly $300,000 saved through attrition.