Clayton County exploring municipal trash pickup

Clayton County may soon offer municipal trash pickup. File Photo
Clayton County may soon offer municipal trash pickup. File Photo

Clayton County’s government may soon be responsible for municipal garbage pickup in the south metro Atlanta community.

The Clayton Commission earlier this week approved a resolution instructing the county’s Solid Waster Authority to put together a plan to launch residential trash pickup, including how much it would cost. Commissioners may also host town hall meetings to get feedback from residents about what they want in the plan.

“People I talk to, they want mandatory garbage pickup,” said Commissioner Sonna Singleton Gregory, who voted with the 4-1 majority in favor of the resolution at Tuesday’s meeting. “I’ve been hearing that since a couple of years ago.”

Clayton has debated offering a municipal garbage service for several years. Commission Chairman Jeff Turner said past studies have yielded options on how to run the operation, but none have been acted on.

Backers of trash pickup said it’s an economic development issue. Some have said Clayton has an image of being dirty and that has made it more difficult to attract jobs.

But opponents say cost is the issue.

“I am totally against adding anything to my tax bill,” Hampton residents Teresa Talley told commissioners. “I want to control my trash account.”

Turner, who opposed the measure, said he thinks the board should get the community’s feedback before launching a plan. That could include how much residents are willing to pay, how they want the service to work, and how the county will handle those who don’t pay for pickup.

“I don’t want to get the cart before the horse,” Turner said.

Commissioner Felicia Franklin Warner said there have been enough discussions. Cities in the county already have municipal trash pickup, she said, and there is no reason to think the county couldn’t keep prices comparable with what residents are already paying.

“We need to come together,” she said. “We need to know that it’s not going to go away.”