Advanced Disposal representatives didn’t appear to have an easy job when addressing the 30 or so residents who attended a South Middleton Township supervisors meeting on Thursday night.
“I’m embarrassed to be here tonight,” Ron Carlson, Advanced Disposal’s municipal marketing/government affair manager, told the crowd.
Township supervisors say the township has received numerous complaints from residents about delayed garbage pickup and phone calls announcing next-day pickups that reportedly don’t happen. Carlson and Jason Bazemore, the company’s general manager in Shippensburg, were there to explain why.
“It’s getting frustrating because we’re being told one thing and getting another,” resident Doreen Mullen told company representatives. “Your poor planning is not my problem.”
Township officials appeared equally as frustrated by the situation on Thursday.
“There doesn’t seem to be a correlation between the phone calls our residents are receiving the night before and what happens the next day,” Supervisor Tom Faley said. “All this is putting our contract renewal with you in jeopardy.”
“Our residents are really good people,” board president Bryan Gembusia said. “They can handle the truth. They don’t like being lied to.”
Gembusia said that when the township initiated its contract with Advanced Disposal, customer complaints appeared at a minimal level. The township’s contract with the company expires in March 2019.
“If we cut ties with (Advanced Disposal) now, we still have to pay them until the end of the year,” Gembusia said. “This is happening to all of us. We’re working on several solutions.”
Carlson said the company is suffering from the effects of an overall shortage of truck drivers not only in central Pennsylvania, but across the U.S. Carlson said that within the past two months, the company has put out an all-out effort to recruit additional drivers.
“We will do everything we can to collect all material,” Carlson said. “We have supervisors on the streets now collecting refuse.”
For now, Advanced Disposal is recruiting fill-in drivers from several other states who aren’t familiar with local routes, sometimes bypassing service to customers’ homes within the township. Carlson said he believes the situation “will turn a corner in a week from now.”
“We know what’s going on,” Carlson said. “We’re in a panic mode right now. I’m 62 years old and I’m out slinging garbage. … We’re asking you to be patient.”
Advanced Disposal provides waste services to South Middleton, Carlisle, North Middleton Township, Dickinson Township, Mount Holly Springs, Newville, Shippensburg, Newburg, Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill, Enola, Lemoyne, and much of Perry County, according to the company’s website.