Roanoke County leaders talking trash, eyeing plan to replace agi - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Roanoke County leaders talking trash, eyeing plan to replace aging garbage trucks

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Roanoke County leaders are talking trash -- trucks, that is.  They say there's a real need to replace their aging fleet of garbage trucks with new ones.  However, budget constraints have prevented that from happening -- until now.

Roanoke County currently has $6.4 million in bond debt.  Since those bonds were first issued, interest rates have dropped almost 2 percent.  That's why county leaders want to refinance those bonds -- a move they say would save about $508,000.

They would then use that money to purchase two new garbage trucks. 

The county currently has 12 trucks, though General Services Director Anne Marie Green says it's rare that all 12 are up and running on any given day.  She says most days, nine or fewer are out providing daily pickup service because they're constantly breaking down and having to go in for maintenance.

Based on the amount of work they do, she says ideally the trucks should be replaced every seven years.

"These trucks pick up trash on top of Twelve O'Clock Knob," said Green.  "It's not like Virginia Beach or Alexandria where it's nice and flat.  So they chug up and down the mountains, they stop in subdivisions every 50 feet to pick up cans."

Because of budget constraints, they've been forced to make them last longer.  The oldest truck in the fleet is from 2001.  Most are from 2004 - 2006, nearing that retirement age.

Green says new trucks would help ensure they can continue to provide the highest level of service possible.

"We're really thrilled," said Green.  "I was so happy when the County Administrator, the Finance Director, and the Board talked about over the last several months.  And everybody agreed yes, we needed some new trucks and this was a really good way to make it happen."

The Board of Supervisors will still have to give its final stamp of approval on the plan before the trucks could be purchased.  That vote will take place on July 23.

County leaders say they're also developing a long-term plan to help finance fleet replacement.


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