The Douglasville Maintenance & Sanitation Department could see a change in operations soon.

In the last six years, there have been seven sanitation drivers who have alternated through the 'P.M' front load-service route, which is Sunday through Thursday from 3 a.m.-noon, according to Maintenance & Sanitation Director Greg Roberts.

"The repeated issue we hear when drivers come and go is that they complain about the hours and they don't want to work at night," Roberts said. "Pay does get mentioned, but that is never necessarily the No. 1 issue. We've had two people quit at Thanksgiving. I mean, one just walked in, laid his keys, his city card down and said, 'I'm gone.' "

The only reason why there weren't more than seven drivers in six years is that one of the drivers stayed for two years and there were three drivers in the position just last year, Roberts said. The suggested solution now is to contract positions for the shifts.

"We would maintain communication with the customer, all of the containers would be City of Douglasville containers, none of that would change," Roberts said. "What would change is the driver and the truck. So basically this would be a contract for transport and hauling."

Contracting drivers for front load duties also frees up employees from other departments such as community service supervisors, street sweepers, or roll off duties. The contracted drivers should be more capable of working during the P.M. shift because the city is paying the drivers about $33,000, while some contracting companies are paying them $70,000. Other companies start at $50,000, Roberts said.

The estimated revenues for the current fiscal year from front load truck duties is $1.375 million. As of New Year's Eve, the trucks are at $700,000, which means the trucks are already ahead of schedule, according to Roberts.

"It doesn't matter who picks it up, that's our revenue stream," Roberts said. "The revenue does not change, so we should be able to reduce costs by going to a contractor."

Hiring contractors shouldn't affect the current sanitation employees because there are currently two vacancies. The city is also looking into adding another automated front loaded residential truck in the next couple of months. Automated trucks are the ones that pick up the garbage cans and dump them without having an extra worker do it manually on the back of the truck. Those workers won't be forced out of work due to natural turnover in the position, according to Roberts.

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