Hilliard City Council members are prepared to extend the city's current solid waste contract for an additional year at their March 9 meeting.

Hilliard City Council members are prepared to extend the city's current solid waste contract for an additional year at their March 9 meeting.

Council members voted 5-1-1 Monday night to authorize Public Service Director Clyde R. Seidle to prepare an ordinance to extend the contract with Local Waste Services for 2009-2010.

Council member Al Iosue abstained because of a potential conflict of interest. He is employed as an engineer by the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO).

Council member Kelly McGivern cast the only no vote. McGivern said her vote was based on her position that no fee increases should be passed on to residents during the current economic downturn.

The extension is the final one-year renewal option available under the current contract. Last year, when the 3-year contract expired, city council approved the first of two possible one-year extensions.

The current contract expires on June 30, 2009. If approved by city council, the extension would run from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.

Seidle said that at the conclusion of the final year of the contract extension the contract will be advertised for competitive bidding.

Under the contract extension, Local Waste Services is requesting a one-time billing charge increase of 3 cents per month from 26 cents to 29 cents. The regular service charge would increase by 64 cents per unit, per month, from the old rate of $13.16 to $14.10. The senior service charge would increase by 58 cents per unit, per month, from the old rate of $12.11 to $12.69.

The majority of city council members agreed Monday night that a fuel adjustment clause requested by Local Waste Services president C.C. Ungarean was reasonable.

Under that clause, fuel costs will be determined on a quarterly basis. If the cost is higher or lower than the baseline figure of $2.69 per gallon, the rate charged the city will either increase or decrease by three-tenths of one cent per household for every cent that fuel costs vary.

Council Vice President William Uttley said he thought the inclusion of the fuel cost adjustment clause was reasonable since both the contractor and the city are protected.

"Either way, it isn't likely to be a big cost or a big savings," he said. "Most importantly, the reason I support this extension is the continuity it provides. We have had very few complaints. Our service levels have been very high."

Seidle said approving the contract extension was in the best interest of the city and its residents.

"We're really at a point right now where if we went out to bid and got a new solid waste contractor, we would have no transition period," he said. "It would be very tough. It would be very rough going those first several months."

jdonahue@thisweeknews.com