The Supreme Court of Georgia has reversed a lower court’s decision and ruled that Lowndes County has the right to stop a private company from continuing to provide curbside residential trash service because it violates a new local ordinance.
Prior to Feb. 1, 2013, Lowndes County had never provided curbside solid waste collection services to residents. Rather, the County operated six solid waste collection centers where residents of the County’s unincorporated areas could bring solid waste upon purchase of an authorization card that cost $100 a year, according to briefs filed in the case. About half the county’s 12,000 residents in unincorporated areas availed themselves of the County’s waste collection centers. The remaining residents contracted with three private companies that provided curbside residential trash service. Those companies were Deep South Sanitation, LLC, All-Green Services, LLC, and Veolia ES Solid Waste Southeast, Inc., which was the predecessor of Advanced Disposal Services Middle Georgia, LLC. Deep South had been providing curbside service since Oct. 15, 2011. It is a small company that serves about 500 residents and employs the owner, his wife, children and two other employees.
The County realized it was losing money on the six collection centers about $400,000 a year and it began considering alternatives. In August 2012, the County issued a Request for Proposals, soliciting proposals for curbside residential solid waste collection services in the county’s unincorporated areas. The Request for Proposals required that each proposal include a $25,000 check and that the bidder commit to serving all of the estimated 12,000 residents in unincorporated Lowndes County. Five proposals were submitted. Deep South, which claimed it did not have the cash available to pay the bid bond, or the equipment and manpower to serve all 12,000 residents, did not submit a bid.