City moves on new recycling contract, forms committee on residential sanitation

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The City of Monticello is moving closer toward a new contract for recycling, putting on hold any decisions regarding residential sanitation pick up.

     During the May 21 council meeting, the council discussed, at length, bids City Administrator Doug Herman received from Roling Sanitation and Republic Services for both recycling and garbage services. The council voted to proceed with Republic for recycling services throughout the city.

     Roling proposed a five-year contract for a 50-gallon cart at $5.25 per month the first year and a 5 percent increase each year. Roling also said any increase in tipping fees go to the city. Republic proposed a seven-year contract for a 65-gallon cart at $4 per month the first year and a 3 percent increase.

     The current residential recycling/sanitation rate is $14.16 per month. Of that fee, $3.54 covers recycling collections. The overall rate is expected to increase to $14.58 on Dec. 1, 2018.

     By choosing Republic for recycling services, residents would be given a cart at no charge to use.

     While the council was on board for a change in recycling, the discussion centered on residential sanitation pick up, perhaps doing away with the city employees taking on this responsibility.

     For sanitation, both Roling and Republic would propose the same contract term limit. Overall, however, the council felt Republic’s proposal outweighed Roling when it came to the cost per bag. In addition, residents would not be required to purchase standard city garbage bags.

     While Republic was higher if every resident disposed of one garbage bag a week, when considering multiple bags would be allowed per week, the cost decreases. The base fee is based on one 35-gallon cart or three bags. (Though Republic would offer a 65-gallon cart.) A Republic cart can easily hold five standard kitchen-sized garbage bags. Residents would not be changed a per-bag fee.

     Republic is also offering to pick up one large item per month from each residence, such as a couch, at no extra cost. Herman suggested that service could lead to the city doing away with citywide pick up days throughout the year.

     “City staff have identified citywide clean up days as something that has gotten out of hand with evidence of debris being brought in from the county, building waste, and people putting large amount of recycling out,” Herman stated.

     Council member Butch Pratt spoke up and said he is “totally against carts.

     “A lot of elderly people in town don’t want a cart,” he added.

     Matt Pivit with Republic, who was present at the meeting, said those who would rather not use a cart are under no obligation to do so.

     “If the city chooses to go with carts, and people don’t to use them, you don’t have to,” he said.

     Pivit explained Republic employees exit the truck to dispose of the refuse inside the carts, which would also allow them to quickly pick up a garbage bag as well.

     “Our guys get out of the trucks, which is why we’re able to offer large-item pick up,” he said.

     He said offering large-item pick up and carts are designed to cut down on the amount of garbage some people stock-pile throughout the year, knowing they are limited on their garbage.

     “I encourage people to give the cart a try,” urged Pivit.

     Mayor Brian Wolken said the carts also cut down on the amount of trash and recycling that gets blown around town, or animals getting into the bags overnight.

     From a city budget standpoint, the Public Works Department is due to purchase a new sanitation truck, at a cost between $175,000 and $200,000. The Sanitation Budget has also dramatically decreased, where the fund balance is concerned, since FY 2017.

     “You see where we’re headed, absent an increase in rates,” suggested Herman. “The contract (for residential sanitation) is definitely a better option moneywise for residents, and the city gets by cheaper, too.” Herman said it’s a win for those residents who don’t like to buy city bags and the expense associated with the purchase.

     “Republic makes more sense economically,” said Council member Dave Goedken. “I am ready to do something different.”

     Council member Tom Yeoman agreed. “If this takes the city totally out of solid waste and recycling, I’m all for it.”

     Herman, Public Works Director Brant LeGrange and three council members will form a committee to discuss the particulars of residential garbage pick up and report back at the next council meeting, Monday, June 4.



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