Republic reps grilled on garbage situation

Contract status uncertain

EXPLAINING – Jeremy Keith (at right) with Republic Waste Solutions speaks about the difficulties his company is still having in providing garbage collection services in the county during Friday’s Solid Waste Committee meeting. Also pictured are Republic rep. Lisa Easterwood (middle) and Carroll County Mayor Joseph Butler (at left).

Some county officials had stern words for representatives of Republic Waste Management during a Jan. 21 meeting of the Carroll County Solid Waste Committee.

Jeremy Keith and Lisa Easterwood with Republic came to the meeting to address the committee’s concerns regarding the current state of garbage collection services around the county.

Republic took over garbage pickup in county back in October of last year on a 90-day emergency contract after Red River Waste Solutions filed bankruptcy and stopped providing services. That contract has now expired, and no decision has yet been made as to whether or not the county will enter into the five-year contract that Republic is seeking.

During the meeting, committee members expressed serious doubts about entering into a long-term arrangement with the company.

“I don’t feel you’ve been doing a good job,” said Solid Waste Director Jeff Heyduck, who pointed out that, so far, Republic’s service has been spotty with some residents getting their garbage picked weekly, while others are getting passed up week after week.

County Mayor Joseph Butler said he is grateful that Republic was willing to help out in an emergency situation, but he also expressed reservations about entering into a long-term contract at this time.

“We know we’re in a mess, and we would have been in an even bigger mess without you guys,” said Butler. “But how do we alleviate these issues, and how do we get there?”

Heyduck commended Easterman for doing her best in a difficult situation, but he added that he believes that, at the corporate level, Republic is not giving her the resources and support she needs in order to get the situation straightened out.

Keith said they are working on getting an additional truck and driver, but Heyduck replied that they really need two more trucks and drivers to cover all the stops.

“But that’s got to come from support above you, and I don’t think they’re listening to you,” said Heyduck.

Committee member Steve Austin suggested that Republic agree to enter another 90-day contract with the county, and at the end of those 90 days, the county will consider the possibility of a five-year contract, depending on how well Republic has gotten the situation under control. Other members generally agreed with Austin’s suggestion.

“I hope that’s what Republic chooses to do,” said Austin. “But right now, I don’t feel like we’ve been getting the best service. I feel like it’s taking a long time.”

Keith said he would consult with his superiors regarding the possibility of another 90-day contract, but Butler said Monday morning that he had not yet heard back from Keith or any other Republic representatives on the matter.

At one point in the meeting, the committee heard comments from several concerned citizens.

One of those who spoke was Daniel Witherspoon, who said he has started up his own waste management company called Rakk Solid LLC. According to Witherspoon, his Milan-based company has taken over garbage collection services in much of Dyer and Gibson Counties, and he has been getting around 20 calls a day from Carroll County residents wanting their garbage picked up.

Witherspoon claimed that if Carroll County would contract with him, he would make them his main focus and provide higher quality, more reliable service than Republic. “Yours is a problem I could easily solve,” said Witherspoon.

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