Rocky Fork Enterprise

Council weighs in on trash proposal

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Gahanna City Council members continued debating proposed legislation July 14 regarding how the city should handle refuse, recycling and yard-waste collection in 2015 and beyond.

Legislation has been proposed to council to implement an option by Rumpke called contractor-design, also known as Option A.

Under this scenario, a hauler proposes what it considers its most optimal waste-collection solution.

Gahanna's pickup day for trash, recycling and yard waste would change to Wednesdays. Residents would receive a wheeled trash cart and recycling cart while reducing cost by at least $2.40 over five years with a 96-gallon trash cart, at least $64.80 with a 64-gallon cart or more than $94 if they choose the 32-gallon trash cart.

This option also includes a rebate from Rumpke for increased recycling that would be used to reduce future residential rates.

Councilman Stephen Renner said he wanted to appeal to his colleagues one more time in favor of the legislation.

He said the containers with lids would provide a standardized look, and it would promote recycling, potentially reducing the price the next time the city goes to bid.

Renner said bulk pickup would remain the same.

Although people are naturally resistant to change, he said, other suburbs have done it.

"They've had negative feedback," he said. "A couple months down the road, life goes on. Hilliard said they had negative feedback a month; then it went away. What I want to do is recentralize the talks -- the value being proposed. Good golly, let's support recycling."

Council member Karen Angelou asked about ADA requirements regarding trash containers.

Services director Dottie Franey said wheeled carts would be easier to maneuver than trash cans.

"There would also be options on sizes," she said. "If they choose a smaller can for solid waste, it would reduce their price. Rumpke wants the 96-gallon (container) for default."

Councilman Ryan Jolley said he wanted verification that each resident could select the container size.

Franey said Rumpke wants a default size, and the city's intent would be to come up with a way to advertise the sizes before implementation, possibly with the refuse bill.

"Our desire would be for residents to receive what they want in the end," she said.

Jolley asked Franey to detail the expense for solid waste.

"For a five-year period from what you're currently paying to go with a 96-gallon solid-waste cart, you would save very little money over five years," she said. "If you went to a 64-gallon size, you would save $65 or more over the whole contract. If you got the smaller (32-gallon container), you would save $95 over the life of the contract."

"Even with the largest container, you still save money at that point," Jolley said.

He said residents would have a choice with the sizes.

"I think the benefits far outweigh the minor concerns I've heard," he said. "I see no reason not to move forward with the legislation. We need to communicate to get sizes residents want."

Councilman Tom Kneeland said the last council coffee had a large turnout.

"Based on feedback, it was not well-accepted," he said. "They felt seniors would suffer because of large containers. It sounds like they have an option."

Gahanna is a part of the Solid Waste Consortium comprising nine other communities: Bexley, Blendon Township, Dublin, Mifflin Township, New Albany, Plain Township, Reynoldsburg, Washington Township and Westerville.

Gahanna is in the fifth year of a five-year contract, with two optional years with Rumpke.

The consortium chose to go out for bids prior to each community having to make a decision on whether to accept the first option year of the current Rumpke contract.

Bids were received from Rumpke, Inland, Republic and Local Waste, with Rumpke being the only bidder offering rates that are lower than what residents are paying.

Rumpke offered four options in its bid:

• Status quo: Current services would continue. The residents would be provided trash cans, yard-waste pickup on Mondays and unlimited trash, recycling and bulk pickup on Tuesdays.

Franey said this option provides no opportunity to save additional money by increased recycling.

Residents who want wheeled carts from the trash hauler must continue to pay to lease them from the hauler on top of the monthly fee. The price for this option would save the customer at least $29.40 over the five-year contract.

• Automated: The hauler would provide wheeled carts for trash and recycling and utilizes automated pickup. All services -- trash (amount fitting in the wheeled cart), recycling and bulk pickup -- would be on Wednesdays.

The price for this option would depend on the size of the wheeled cart chosen by the customer. The size of carts ranges from 96 gallons (equivalent to three trash cans) to 32 gallons, with respective costs ranging from a few cents more than they currently pay if they choose the 96-gallon cart to saving at least $92.40 over five years if they choose the 32-gallon cart.

• Contractor-design (referred to as Option A): Under this option, Gahanna's pickup day for all three services would change to Wednesdays. Residents would receive a wheeled trash and recycling cart while reducing their costs by about $2.40 over five years with a 96-gallon trash cart, at least $64.80 with a 64-gallon cart or more than $94 if they choose the 32-gallon trash cart.

This option also would include a rebate from Rumpke for increased recycling from Gahanna residents, thus resulting in lower residential rates later.

• Contractor-design (referred to as Option B): This option is basically the same as Option A, except yard waste and recycling would be picked up only every two weeks. The five-year savings for this option would range from at least $62.40 to $154.80, based on the size of a trash cart.

Franey has said Option A addresses the fact that trash is a liability and recycling is an asset.

She said tipping fees for trash disposal are a significant factor in the cost of refuse disposal. On the other hand, the disposal of recycling has no cost.

Franey said reduced tipping fees due to increased recycling is effective cost containment.

In addition, she said, Option A offers rebates for increased recycling.

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