Tuesday's action also provided for up-front billing, meaning homeowners will pay in advance for the service. Tax bills this year will include a $321 charge for 18 months of garbage service covering July 1 this year through December 2011.
The county expects to collect between $48 million and $57 million from residential customers this year. About $415,000 of that will pay annual salaries and benefits for six new employees who will supervise and administer the enterprise. The five haulers will receive $18 million every six months.
The new solid waste program was introduced in March, nearly a year and a half after a superior court judge halted a 2008 plan that divided the county into six collection zones and awarded two haulers exclusive franchises to service unincorporated residential customers. County officials estimate the number of unincorporated households at between 150,000 and 180,000.
Also last month, the county settled three lawsuits filed in district court by five garbage haulers over the 2008 plan. Those same five haulers have been awarded exclusive franchises under the current plan.
Another suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, is still pending. Waste Industries filed suit in December claiming county officials were on the verge of creating an "illegal and unconstitutional solid waste hauling program" as a way of settling pending litigation with the five haulers.