Alabaster starting its own residential garbage service

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The city of Alabaster will begin operating its own garbage service in early 2018, and is making plans to blacktop the road leading into Limestone Park and construct a building on the back side of the park to house the vehicles.

In late 2016, the Alabaster City Council voted unanimously to place an order through the National Joint Powers Alliance competitive bid list for six Freightliner garbage trucks for a total price not to exceed about $1.38 million. Before the trucks are delivered later this year, Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon and City Manager Brian Binzer will present the matter to the City Council to approve final financing or lease options for the trucks.

Handlon said three of the trucks will be used for residential curbside garbage collection, and the other three will be used for residential curbside recycling collection. The city will only provide residential service, meaning business and school customers who use dumpsters will have to contract their pickup services elsewhere.

Handlon said the city will start its in-house residential garbage and recycling service on Jan. 2, 2018. The city’s current garbage and recycling provider, Advanced Disposal, will continue to serve the city until then.

“We’ve already got the trucks on order, and expect them to be delivered by November,” Handlon said after an April 10 City Council meeting. “This isn’t a quick move. We’ve put a lot of thought and time into considering this and making it happen.”

To accommodate the city’s garbage and recycling trucks, Alabaster leaders also are working to construct a new facility in Limestone Park off U.S. 31. Once constructed, the facility will take up about five acres in the 100-acre park, and will be near the Alabaster Police Department firing range near the back of the park.

The city also is planning to pave the current gravel road leading into the park, which currently houses a radio control airplane strip and pavilion, a small lake, a birdwatching platform over wetlands and the police firing range. Because the new facility will require running water and sewer lines, the city is planning to add a small public restroom facility for park visitors.

Last month, the city received two bids from companies interested in designing and constructing the facility, but the City Council voted to reject the two bids during an April 10 meeting after one bid did not meet specifications and the other was significantly higher than the city had estimated.

As a result of rejecting the initial bids, Handlon and Binzer will now work with an architectural engineering firm to design the facility before bidding it out again.

“We will probably get better prices doing it that way,” Handlon said, noting the city will be able to start providing garbage service even if the building is not yet completed. “Our goal is to be in that building by January, or as soon thereafter as possible.”