Smithfield trash contractor given 30-day notice to improve business

By Matt Leonard

Staff Writer

The Smithfield Town Council is considering giving a list of grievances and a 30-day warning to improve service to its current trash contractor, Moody’s All Virginia Environmental Solutions (AVES).

If service does not improve after this warning period, then the town would terminate the agreement and place the contract out for bid with another vendor.

“At least that sets the clock in motion and once again we’ve extended the olive branch to try and make it work,” said council member Michael Smith.

The town has been recording all public complaints against the trash collection company for more than a year. The town has received more than 50 complaints in that time. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Issues with Moody’s were discussed in the public works committee a year ago, just before they started recording issues residents were reporting. The Smithfield Times reported at the time that council members left the meeting with an agreement to try and resolve issues with Moody’s before seeking another contract.

A lot of the problems residents have reported about Moody’s are concerning trash not being picked up or being picked up late. But one resident (the town did not provide the names of the residents who filed the complaints) mentioned oil and hydraulic fluid being spilled in their neighborhood. The resident said they “would call the EPA” and that they’d been dealing with the issue for almost a year. The Environmental Protection Agency did not respond to verify this.

Another comment about the company said they had not received a trash can after living in the residence for 30 days.

“We have no place to put our trash and its starting to collect and smell,” the commenter said.

Other residents said they witnessed, on multiple occasions, the trash and recycling being dumped into the same truck.

“I do not see this getting any better. These trucks are horrible, horribly maintained,” Smith said.

He also said that service “seemed to keep getting worse” since they started keeping track a year ago.

Council member Denise Tynes said the number of complaints against the company were enough for the town to consider moving on.

“If it’s no longer working for us I say we need to look at other applicants,” Tynes said.

But the cost of Moody’s is part of the reason why the town has stayed with company for as long as it has.

“Be prepared for a really big increase,” said Town Attorney Bill Riddick about what a contract with a new company could look like in comparison to what they have now.

The town was paying more than $429,000 every two years for for trash and recycling services provided by Moody’s, according to a contract provided by the town. But the town has been on a month-to-month agreement with the trash business since the last contract between the two ended on June, 30 2015.

Another reason the town has stuck it out for as long as they have is the commitment to supporting local businesses, but town officials say its gotten to the point where that is not enough of a reason to continue the relationship.

“That’s what we were trying to prevent, because (it’s a) county native, and county business, town business and we want to keep the revenue here if possible, but you know, there are other issues,” Tynes said. “We’ve tried to work and do everything we can do, but sometimes you just have to move forward.”

In order to place the contract out for bid, the town would have to give Moody’s a 60-day notice.

Town Manager Peter Stephenson said a large part of the reason Moody’s has struggled with their customer service is maintenance issues.

“Unfortunately, the service is not what it used to be,” Stephenson said.

In June 2006, Nelson and Dawson Moody had just been awarded the contract to collect trash in Windsor and were waiting to hear about their contract with the town of Smithfield. It was subsequently accepted.

They had decided to start their business again after being bought out by Allied Waste in 2000. The brothers had served the town with trash collection between 1980 and 2000.

“I grew up here and believe the people in this community deserve quality service,” Nelson was quoted as saying in The Smithfield Times in 2006.

This week, the company did not respond to request to comment.

The Smithfield Town Council voted on the 30-day warning period last night, but results were not known by press time.  {/mprestriction}