Gwinnett citizens outraged over trash bills - CBS46 News

Gwinnett citizens outraged over trash bills

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A Gwinnett County citizens group is demanding answers after learning they are paying nearly double the fees trash haulers charge residents in other areas.

"I'm outraged," said Sabrina Smith with Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government. "We're going to continue to put pressure on them because we're sick and tired of this occurring."

CBS Atlanta News informed the group that at least one trash hauler the county contracts with is offering residents outside Gwinnett significantly lower prices.

A brochure from Republic Services advertises garbage and recycling pick up for $10 a month.  Some Gwinnett County residents are charged more than $18 a month by the company.

"It says to me that somehow Gwinnett County negotiated with this same company in a way that is unfair to us as taxpayer,"  said Gaye McNeil, a member of Citizens for a Better Gwinnett.

Gwinnett began a trash collection program July 1, 2010 that for the first time requires county residents to sign up for the service. Previously, Gwinnett allowed residents to pick their own garbage hauler from a list of qualified companies.

The county is currently divided into five service zones and residents must use the hauler assigned to their area.

The County Commission approved the mandated trash plan to discourage illegal dumping, promote recycling and cut down on truck traffic in county neighborhoods.

Commissioner Mike Beaudreaux has been a big backer of the trash plan.  He promised Reporter Renee Starzyk he would return her phone call but by late Thursday had not.

"My Tough Question would be how can we be charged over $200 a year for the same service that is being offered to Fulton County for 10 dollars a month?" asked McNeil.  "I want to know how that works."

In an e-mail, a county spokeswoman said Gwinnett's trash collection rate cannot be compared to others because the county offers different services.

The watchdog groups are vowing to voice their concerns at the next meeting of the board of commissioners.

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