VALDOSTA — Advanced Disposal said Monday it wants to raise the cost of trash pickup but county officials countered, saying customer service complaints are piling up. Steve Edwards with Advanced Disposal explained the company’s need for a price increase at the work session of the Lowndes County Commission Monday morning.

Edwards cited “unanticipated change” and “negative impacts” in the last 22 months that has led to increased costs and decreased revenue.

“We’re looking for some kind of a resolution with the county to move forward, because we can’t move much longer where we are at $12.80 per month,” Edwards said.

Advanced suggested another hauler providing garbage services, increased yard waste disposal costs and increased recycling and transportation costs all have contributed to the need for the price hike.

That hauler is Deep South Sanitation, whose curbside service has been the subject of lawsuits from Lowndes County and Advanced, lawsuits that have gone all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Edwards said the location for recycling processing has changed after the original site in Milledgeville rejected Advanced due to the presence of glass and other materials.

Edwards also cited residents who had services discontinued for non-payment and residents of the county who don’t have curbside service at all.

“There are more folks than we expected who don’t have service of any kind,” Edwards said.

“We’d like to address these unanticipated changes working with the county that has impacted our operating conditions under our franchise agreement,” Edwards said. “We’d like to discuss a resolution as quickly as possible, and of course, work together with the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners to resolve this in the best interest of Lowndes County citizens.”

Commissioner DeMarcus Marshall said that if anything should be discussed, it would be the customer service complaints that Marshall said he still receives.

“There’s a lot of good people that put themselves on the line for this thing, and a lot of people paid the price for this,” Marshall said. “I still receive complaints right now about customer service. It’s not necessarily an issue about not wanting to be with Advanced, but trash cans dumped over, trash on the side of the street, the whole shebang. If we’re going to talk about anything, it would address those customer service issues because that’s pretty much the Achilles heel of this deal.”

Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter said he wished the county could have addressed this 18 months before.

“This will now begin to give us the opportunity to re-look at the franchise agreement, possibly amend the agreement, and possibly make changes that hopefully will be the benefit of the citizens of Lowndes County,” Slaughter said. “At the same time, it will give us an opportunity to further address customer service issues. I’m hoping and praying myself that this is an opportunity that we can move forward and take a re-look at solid waste in Lowndes County.”

Slaughter suggested that a review of the franchise agreement will take place sometime after the start of 2015.

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