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County expected to name new waste consultant
Firm will apply plan to state rulings, evaluate options with hauling service

LAWRENCEVILLE - Today the county is expected to name the consulting firm it has chosen to complete its solid waste program assessment study. And it won't be the same one used by Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful last year.

It was Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful's consultant that eventually led the county and Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful down the path to having the 2008 solid waste ordinance ruled illegal by Superior Court Judge Michael Clark in December. According to the Gwinnett County Financial Services deputy director Chuck Huckleberry, this consulting company's tasks will be different than those of its predecessor.

"Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful hired a consultant to help prepare the required update to the county's solid waste management plan," Huckleberry said. "Our consultant will be tasked to review the solid waste management plan, the prior study and our current solid waste ordinance with applicable state policies and the county's goals and objectives."

Huckleberry said other tasks required of the selected consulting firm will be to evaluate service delivery options for residential solid waste hauling and recycling programs and to benchmark Gwinnett against other comparable counties in Georgia. Finally, he said, the consultant will "maximize public input through a series of public forums, meetings with haulers and statistically valid telephone/Internet Surveys."

Huckleberry said based on what is discovered, the consultant would then recommend new language and plan revisions. He also said three consulting firms submitted bids for the job and that the funds to pay for the project are provided for in the 2009 solid waste plan budget.

According to Mack Perry, who served on Commissioner Mike Beaudreau's trash committee, nobody on the 15-member citizen's board had a clue about the county searching for a consulting firm.

"It was unbeknownst to us," Perry said. "Not a soul was aware of it."

He also said the report of recommendations prepared for the Board of Commissioners to consider in drafting a new solid waste plan has been completed, and would be released to the public as soon as the commissioners had a chance to see it.

"The public needs to know that we as a committee listened," he said. "And there were differences of opinion on lots of things."

Perry said two things he took away from the five meetings were that the people want a choice with regard to who their garbage hauler is and don't want garbage charges appearing on their property tax bills.