Republic Services, the waste disposal and recycling company that serves much of unincorporated Guilford County and some of its towns, seems to finally be getting its act together. The Summerfield Town Council has just renewed the waste company’s exclusive agreement with that town and Guilford County Commissioners say the constant stream of complaints they’ve been getting all year about Republic Services has slowed to a trickle.
Earlier this year, Guilford County commissioners spoke openly at meetings about the complaints they had been getting regarding Republic Services and, at that time, company officials promised to make major changes that would improve the situation – including a restructuring of routes, the purchase of new vehicles and equipment, new schedules and more managerial oversight.
While all those moves were supposed to make the service more reliable and more efficient, this summer Guilford County commissioners and Summerfield Town Council members were still getting a great many complaints about the trash collection service. But those officials now say they are relieved the situation has gotten better.
Guilford County commissioner Hank Henning was one of several commissioners who said the complaints seem to have died down.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Henning said of recent months.
Summerfield resident Don Wendelken, a former Guilford County Board of Elections member who runs the “Summerfield Scoop” Facebook page, also said things finally seem to be improving.
“In the last three weeks, they have picked it up on time but before that they weren’t doing what they were supposed to do.”
Wendelken said that the recycling collection service especially was a major problem in the past because Republic Services didn’t stick to the collection schedule.
Some Summerfield residents were upset that the Town Council renewed Republic Services contract. Earlier in the year, it didn’t look like Summerfield was going to do so. In May, a staff report to the Town Council stated, “The town last discussed Republic’s declining service in March. Representatives present at the Council meeting explained recent company changes and said service would improve; however, complaints have been greater than ever. Complaints include that both trash and recycling are not being picked up as scheduled and also poor customer service when citizens call for assistance.”
Summerfield Town manager Scott Whitaker said recently that Republic was doing better and seemed to be more attentive to complaints.
“They still have some problems,” he added.
Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Alan Branson also said things appear to be getting better. Earlier this year, Branson was so frustrated by the complaints and the company’s failure to respond that he started giving irate customers the personal cell phone number of a Republic Services manager.
Branson said that that way the complaints could go “straight to the jugular” and added, “If they can aggravate me, I can aggravate them.”