Liberty Township could team up with neighboring communities to save money on trash-pickup services.

Liberty Township could team up with neighboring communities to save money on trash-pickup services.

But one member of the township's board of trustees said the plan would hinder competition among providers.

Trustees discussed the possibility of entering into a collaborative bidding arrangement with neighboring Orange and Genoa townships at a meeting May 21.

Currently, the local government plays no part in arranging trash pickup. Instead, township residents solicit the service from a company of their choice.

The proposed arrangement potentially could limit that choice, because the townships would jointly enter into an agreement with a single carrier to provide services within their borders.

Trustees Curt Sybert and Mary Carducci said they support the proposal. Township Administrator Dave Anderson said it would result in better prices for residents, because the sole carrier would have more guaranteed customers.

Orange and Genoa townships contract individually with Rumpke and residents pay about $230 per year for services. Liberty Township residents pay roughly $324 with no contract.

Jointly bidding for service would reduce prices even more, Anderson said.

"It's economies of scale," he said. "This is, pure and simple, a way to save our residents tax dollars and save (the township) some funds, too, on our own trash pickup."

It's also likely the agreement would include recycling pickup in the base cost for trash pickup. Currently, Liberty Township residents pay a surcharge for recycling pickup from local providers.

The arrangement also could mean fewer heavy trucks on residential streets, resulting in less wear and tear on roads.

"If we're able to get the same services for less, then I'm all for it," Sybert said, adding: "If it's good for 95 percent of the township, then I'm going to vote for it because it probably makes sense."

But Trustee Melanie Leneghan said she's concerned the arrangement could hurt the quality of services by eliminating competition. She said if the township enters into a joint bidding agreement with other townships, they should contract with at least two providers.

"With multiple awards, the two are in constant competition for the end user's business," Leneghan said. "You award it to two vendors and allow the user to make that choice."

Anderson said he would introduce the suggestion in talks with Genoa and Orange townships to gauge their reaction.

Orange Township Administrator Gail Messmer declined to comment on the possibility before the township's trustees can discuss it. But as a resident, she said she "couldn't be happier" with the current single-provider arrangement.

The Orange Township office has received no more than one or two complaints per year about the arrangement, which started in the early 2000s and led to lower prices overall, Messmer said.