By Ed Brock
Jerry and Frances Clark have lived in Clayton County since 1974 and garbage collection is still confusing.
"It's hard to know who is who and how much it costs," Jerry Clark said.
The Clarks, both 57, recently decided to change their garbage pick up service at their Ellenwood home in an unincorporated section of the county to get a better rate. After failing to find a company in the Yellow Pages, they started asking their neighbors.
They decided to go with Advanced Disposal, but were surprised on pick up day.
"When the truck came to pick up for the closest neighbor who has Advanced, it was the Speedy (Disposal Services) truck," Frances Clark said.
That's because Advanced, with a home office in Jacksonville, Fla. and division offices in Norcross and Macon, bought Speedy and several other Atlanta metro area garbage companies last year, Advanced's Commercial Supervisor Wayne Monroe said.
They're still using Speedy trucks and the listed phone number for Speedy has been routed to Advanced's offices.
"We chose to do that for now to keep down the confusion," Monroe said. By next year they plan to change the names on the trucks.
Advanced has about 12,000 customers in Clayton, Henry and Rockdale counties. In the Clayton and Henry County Yellow Pages there are listings for more than 20 different companies, each with different rates and services.
In frustration, newcomers often call the county offices.
"Every now and then I get calls from people wondering why we don't do it," said Suzanne Brown, the county's public information officer. "They seem a little perplexed that they have to look through the Yellow Pages."
Many of them call the county's Refuse Control, but they don't handle household garbage pickup, said Wayne Lee, the department's assistant director.
"We provide service for everything else," Lee said.
"Everything else" includes furniture, mattresses, appliances and tree limbs. The price for picking up the items is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the time needed to load and unload the debris.
The cities of Jonesboro, Morrow, Forest Park, Riverdale and Lake City provide garbage pickup, Jonesboro for free and Forest Park and Riverdale for $45 every three months. Morrow charges about $49 a quarter, but City Manager John Lampl said they provide back door service twice a week.