Jurors trash talk waste collector
Steve Bandy is the managing editor of The Crowley Post-Signal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 337-783-3450.
Members of the Solid Waste Committee, as well as other members of the Acadia Parish Police Jury, spent a lot of time trash talking the parish garbage collector Tuesday night.
Progressive Waste Solutions officials Dave Clabo and Timothy Taylor were inundated with tales of utility wires being yanked from residences, trash blowing out of collection trucks, missed customers — sometimes entire streets — and oil leaks from trucks.
A.J. “Fatty” Broussard, chairman of the Solid Waste Committee, opened the session by reading a letter from Rayne Mayor Roland Boudreaux, who had appeared before the group in June complaining of oil slicks on city roads and smelly leachate pouring from the trucks.
In his letter, Boudreaux named three separate streets in Rayne that, on different occasions during the past three weeks, were not serviced by Progressive.
Boudreaux said he tried to call the company to inform them of this but “these people do not return phone calls.”
Georgette Dugas, a resident of the Forest Park area just north of Crowley off La. Highway 13, also told of oil leaks from the collection trucks.
“We walk on those streets every day and you can tell how many cans each house had by the number of oil spots in front of them,” Dugas said. “There are pools of oil where the truck stops.”
Dugas said she had complained to former officials at the waste collection company as long ago as last year, “but nothing was ever done.”
She produced a number of photos of the oil spots, some she said she took last year and some as recently as Tuesday morning.
“I can tell you that this issue has been corrected by our new trucks,” said Taylor, referring to the three new trucks recently put into service in the parish.
“Then why did we have these oil spots this morning?” Dugas countered.
Clabo explained that the new trucks are being worked into the routes.
Lengthy discussion centered around utility lines — mostly cable and telephone — that have been pulled from residences by the trucks.
Both Clabo and Taylor assured that Progressive’s trucks are well within the height guidelines set forth for clearance of these lines.
However, David Savoy, jury president and ex officio member of the committee, noted that cable and telephone lines “tend to sag with time, especially with the heat we’ve been experiencing lately.”
One resident had contacted the police jury and wanted to know who was responsible for replacing the siding that had been ripped from the side of his house when the cable wire got caught on a waste collection truck.
Brad Andrus, jury counsel, said it is a gray area because questions remain, such as, was the line too low or was the truck too high.
“The cable or phone company will go out and reconnect the line but, as for the damage to the home, all I know for sure is that the police jury is not responsible,” Andrus said.
As for the missed houses, Broussard spoke of a particular resident of Crowley who called him Friday to say that his waste, which was supposed to have been picked up Wednesday, was still at the roadside.
“I told him to call the landfill and they assured him that it would be taken care of,” Broussard said. “It’s still there today.
“I want the parish to fine Progressive $250 a day for each day the garbage sat out there.”
The parish contract with Progressive provides for a fine of $250 per day if the garbage hasn’t been picked up within 24 hours of notification being received by the company.
“But I understand that we’ve already fined them thousands and they aren’t paying the fines,” Broussard added.
Clabo told Broussard that, if the jury can provide documentation showing when the complaints were filed with Progressive and when the trash was collected, the company would pay the approximately $22,000 in back fines.
The committee took no action and no recommendation will be forwarded to the full jury when it meets Tuesday, July 8