County looks to au­to­mate customer process at land­fill

Staff looks to speed up customer ex­pe­ri­ence

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @SykesIndyNews

When res­i­dents pre­vi­ous used the county land­fill, all charges were ap­plied to pay­ing cus­tomers man­u­ally. Now to speed up the process and make it eas­ier for cit­i­zens to use, the Charles County Gov­ern­ment is im­ple­ment­ing an au­to­mated sys­tem for customer use.

Bill Shreve, the direc­tor of the de­part­ment of pub­lic works, said the goal for the project was to im­prove cus­tomers’ ex­pe­ri­ences. Pre­vi­ously, he said, the county had an ex­press line for customer use on Satur­days. But au­to­ma­tion would “ex­pe­dite that line ever y day.”

“We’re look­ing to make it a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for peo­ple com­ing to the land­fill,” he said.

Christy Kling­man, the scale mas­ter for the de­part­ment, said the high traf­fic vol­umes and the number of ex­cep­tions and mea­sure­ments the de­part­ment has to make can be over­whelm­ing for the customer. The lines can get so long, she said, they ex­tend to Billings­ley Road.

Their staff brain­stormed ideas and came up with an au­to­mated process through how they used their ex­press lane for “flat rate” cus­tomers. But the staff was only avail­able to do that on Satur­days, she said.

But with au­to­ma­tion, the ex­press line would be avail­able each day, Kling­man said.

When some­one uses the land­fill, there is nor­mally con­fu­sion about what charges come with dif­fer­ent types of ve­hi­cles, dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als be­ing dumped and dif­fer­ent drop off places. Au­to­ma­tion will help re­lieve some of the con­fu­sion, Shreve said.

Ac­cord­ing to Kling­man, the goal is to have the customer more in­volved. “No one knows bet­ter what they’re bring­ing into the land­fill than the pa­tron,” she said.

Cus­tomers will be able to se­lect the type of ve­hi­cle they are driv­ing, the ma­te­rial they are bring­ing into the land­fill and where ma­te­ri­als are be­ing dumped, she said. How­ever, the land­fill will ap­ply spe­cific fees for ma­te­ri­als be­ing dumped and ve­hi­cles be­ing used.

There will be an at­ten­dant avail­able for any ques­tions and con­cerns cus­tomers may have, she said. They will also be able to ver­ify the ac­cu­racy of what is se­lected prior to it be­ing dis­posed.

There will be two lanes of en­try at the land­fill, she said. One will be the ex­press lane for pa­trons with a credit card and the other will be a scale lane for pa­trons with com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, cash and trail­ers. Both will be au­to­mated, Kling­man ex­plained, but flat rate cus­tomers us­ing the ex­press lane will not need their ma­te­rial to be weighed.

The county’s new au­to­mated sys­tem will be unique in the state, Kling­man said. “We’re tak­ing this au­to­ma­tion to a dif­fer­ent level than we’ve seen. This will be cus­tom­ized to meet the needs of the Charles County pa­trons,” she said.

Shreve said the res­i­den­tial fee struc­ture will re­main the same. There will be a $5 flat rate for cars, vans and SUVs, which is a re­duc­tion from the $10 charged pre­vi­ously. There is a $15 flat rate ap­plied to pickup trucks, he said.

Also, if a sin­gle item can fit into a 32-gal­lon garbage can and is non-haz­ardous, Shreve said it can be dis­posed of without a charge so long as it is not part of an­other load.

Com­mis­sioner Ken Robin­son (D) said the process was “for­ward think­ing” and took the customer into con­sid­er­a­tion.

Com­mis­sioner Bobby Rucci (D), who said he fre­quently uses the land­fill, said he looks for­ward to see­ing how the au­to­mated sys­tem works. In the past, he said, it has run well — and this new process should make it even bet­ter.

“The ser­vice there is im­pec­ca­ble,” Rucci said. “It’s nice, it’s a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence to go to the dump. I like it.”

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