08/19/14 — City weighing automatic trash trucks

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City weighing automatic trash trucks

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on August 19, 2014 2:08 PM

Goldsboro sanitation workers might soon see changes if a plan to fully automate three of the city's garbage trucks comes to fruition.

Public Works Director Jose Martinez presented the plan to the Goldsboro City Council at the board's meeting Monday.

Currently, garbage trucks are semi-automatic, meaning one of two workers on the truck hand loads a garbage can onto the back of the truck, which is then flipped up into the truck by a mechanical lever. The worker then returns the can back to the curb.

The automation of trucks would mean the driver would be the only one operating the truck. Mechanical arms would be used to load and to return garbage cans.

If implemented, the plan would eliminate nine jobs. Those employees would be offered jobs in other city departments to prevent any overall job loss, Martinez said.

There will be other costs associated with the automation plan.

Existing garbage cans would need to be replaced by the city with stronger models so the mechanical arms would not crush the cans. This replacement would cost about $750,000, and would need to happen within the next four years.

Councilman Charles Williams questioned whether such a system would result in spilled cans and litter.

"I don't see any spills that might happen to be significant or to create a constant trail to and from each canister," Martinez said.

In other business, council held a public hearing on a request by Tillet & Coley, on the east side of N.C. 111, to add 30 more machines to its Internet cafe sweepstakes business, giving the business a total of 80 machines. Due to parking space requirements, the current number of 179 spaces would have to be increased to 271 if the request is granted.

According to the city's Internet cafe ordinance, the establishment would pay a $2,500 privilege tax, and an additional $500 privilege tax per machine. At 80 machines, the business would pay $40,000 in privilege taxes for the machines alone, and the standard privilege tax would bring the total amount paid to the city up to $42,500 in additional revenue.

After a public hearing with no public comment, no action was taken on the request, and it is to be presented at the next council meeting on Sept. 2.

Council also recognized Goldsboro police Officer Michelle Warren, who was recently named state officer of the year by the American Legion.

Two retirements also were noted -- Beth Lewis for 13 years of service with the Police Department and Bobby Taylor, an equipment operator with the city for 25 years.