“We need to stay in the trash business because we need all the revenue we can get,” said Carl Hinton, the city employee who oversees garbage collection.
Piedmont collects garbage from about 2,200 households for a monthly rate of $16 per household.
Hinton said the problem with the mechanical arm is common for trucks with as many miles as the vehicle, which is a 2011 model.
He told the council it would be better to lease trash trucks for two years at a time to avoid having to pay for maintenance on them.
The city also talked about abatement problems, citing complaints about tall grass and dilapidated buildings and homes that harbor pests.
“We’ve talked and talked and talked but we aren’t doing nothing,” said Councilman Frank Cobb, who also spoke about existing city ordinances about property maintenance.
“There have been ordinances on the books for years; it’s time we start enforcing them.”
One woman in the audience said she found a dead rat in her yard early Tuesday, holding her index fingers up in the air about 6 inches apart to show how large it was.
Several residents also spoke out against the current city government, saying officials are not being transparent and that in at least one instance officials did not respond to phone calls about blighted property.
“The citizens of Piedmont demand transparency in our city government,” one of the residents, Roxanna Sims, said as she read from a statement.
At least one city official acknowledged Sims and other residents’ concerns about communication.
“After a period of time you deserve a returned phone call,” said Councilman Bill Baker, who is acting as the Mayor Pro Tem. “You deserve an answer.”
Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LGaddy_Star.