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GFL promises improved service

JACKSON – Northampton County residents with complaints or concerns about their trash collection service should soon have all the information they need to get in contact with the right people.

GFL Environmental, who is contracted to collect household trash in the county, presented that information to the Northampton County Board of Commissioners here at their regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 5. This followed a special joint meeting between the two late last month where both parties discussed the concerns over inconsistencies with trash pickup service.

At the previous meeting, citizens expressed their frustration with delayed collection times, sometimes by as much as 24-to-48 hours from their usual designated day. Most of those concerns have been from people living in the eastern portion of the county.

GFL Environmental (formerly known as Waste Industries, LLC) has a $2.05 million annual contract with the county to provide weekly collection of roll-out containers for approximately 10,500 customers.

Representatives from the company said the delays were caused by a variety of issues including mechanical breakdowns, weather, and staffing problems caused by COVID-19. But they also said they were determined to resolve the issue.

Both sides agreed at the special meeting on Sept. 24 that better communication was needed in the future.

“We had a real productive meeting Thursday night, and we addressed some of the issues you guys wanted us to. We came up with a plan,” said GFL Government Contracts Manager Pat Luce, speaking at Monday’s regular meeting.

Luce and GFL General Manager Christopher Williams shared a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) sheet that was developed to resolve the communications issue.

According to the FAQ, residents with service issues or in need a cart replacement can either call the Weldon office at 252-536-2011 between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday or email gfl.se.northamptoncs@gflenv.com. That email address will be exclusively for Northampton County residents.

To find out about service delays, information will be posted on the Northampton County website after it is shared with the County Manager and Public Works Director. There will also be a “phone blast” which will announce weather delays and other issues.

GFL also directed residents wishing to obtain an additional container to contact the Northampton County Tax Office at 252-534-4461. Luce explained they work with the tax office to make billing easier, and that’s why they would be the contact for that matter.

In addition to the FAQ, information about the trash collection schedule will be posted on the company’s website (www.gflenv.com) and postcards with contact information will be mailed out to residents soon.

They also recommended a monthly or quarterly meeting between the company and Northampton’s Public Works Director to ensure there are no further communication issues.

“What I see is fine as long as GFL carries it out,” stated Board Chair Charles Tyner after looking over the information. “If you carry out this, then we shouldn’t have any problem.”

Tyner asked Public Works Director Kirk Rogers if he had any comments on the information plan. Rogers said it looked good, and he was glad to have been receiving daily updates since the previous meeting.

“Thank you for being a good business partner,” added County Manager Charles Jackson to the GFL representatives. “We want [the citizens] to have the information ahead of time to alleviate some frustration. This is exactly what we wanted to provide to the citizens.”