CAIRO — Grady County officials will investigate whether to begin the process of partially moving out of the sanitation business following a vote Tuesday by the Board of Commissioners.

County commissioners approved a request for quotationto contract garbage hauling at manned dumpsites to a third party service, something which County Administrator Buddy Johnson said is one of two inevitable solutions after one of the county’s two existing dump trucks broke down.

“We’re trying to get out of the sanitation business as far as hauling it,” Johnson said. “That’s kind of our goal.”

Road Department superintendent Stanley Elkins said the other option would be to purchase a new garbage truck — an idea which Johnson is not in favor of. Elkins estimated that a new garbage truck would cost the county between $250,000-300,000.

“I feel like this is a good thing,” Elkins said of the third party concept. “It’s going to cost a little money, but I think it’s going to wash itself out between that and the purchase and upkeep of a garbage truck.”

The manned dumpsites themselves still will be operated by the county, but a third party will haul the trash off to a landfill. Trash at unmanned dumpsites will continue to be hauled by county trucks until they are permanently closed.

Elkins said the idea of having Grady County’s trash be hauled off by a third party service has been around for years, but kept getting put on the back burner. With the county’s fleet of trucks now cut in half, Elkins said there’s no way around the fact that a decision on the matter needs to be made — and soon.

“We need to find out if we can get that service, who can do it and what prices they can do it at,” Johnson said. “Then we can have a better educated decision as to whether we want to move forward with that or if we want to go down another road with getting a truck.”

Grady County has been closing unmanned trash dumpsites steadily over the course of the past year and moving to a system where trash is dumped exclusively at locations cleaned and monitored by a county employee. The county currently has four such manned sites which consist of around 140 cans, with a plan to eventually have a total of seven. Work on identifying a suitable location for a fifth site, preferably near Whigham, is currently underway.

Johnson said the manned sites are clean and well-maintained, unlike the unmanned locations.

“The process is working,” he said. “This thought process that nothing is being done and we’re all a bunch of fools sitting up here is not true, and we know it’s not true.”

County officials continue to recommend that residents consider paying a third party service for curbside trash pickup at their residences.

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