Canal Winchester City Council wants to compare prices before settling on a residential trash hauler.

During its May 18 meeting, council members voted unanimously to waive the competitive bidding process and instead seek requests for proposals, which is permitted under the city charter.

The city's 10-year contract with its longtime hauler, Waste Management Inc., expires Aug. 31.

"Some on council were concerned about going with Waste Management without getting any bids," said Matt Peoples, public-services director. "We've been with Waste Management for 20 years now, and we've never gone out for proposals. Before that, I'm almost positive we've had a contract with them since 1988, but I wasn't here then."

Currently, residents pay about $16 per month, with additional fees for fuel or cart rental, Peoples said.

"I just paid mine, and it was $61 for three months," he said.

Waste Management, which has operations in Canal Winchester, presented a proposal to council in April that would cost residents approximately $22.50 per month and would include a 90-gallon refuse cart and a recycling cart. Residents also could purchase additional carts.

Seniors still would receive a 10% discount.

Trash collection would be weekly by trucks using mechanical arms to lift and empty containers.

Recycling containers would be emptied every other week.

Local Waste and Rumpke are among the possible competitors to supply bids, Peoples said.

"Waste Management is a great community partner," council Vice President Mike Coolman said during council's May 4 work session. "They have shown their support of our community ... and they do it professionally without a hiccup. But with that being said ... if we haven't had a (request for proposals) in over 20 years, then what are we looking at? What are we basing our decision on?"

Councilman Will Bennett explained that requesting proposals "allows the city to control our own destiny."

"I think that is key, but I would also agree that Waste Management is a great corporate resident," he said. "They have always been great to us, great to work with. They have bent over backwards to help the Saturday morning recycling program."

Bennett also noted the city would lose the franchise fee Waste Management pays to Canal Winchester if the city selects another trash hauler.

The existing contract is a "host agreement" since the company operates a transfer station in the city. Canal Winchester receives an annual host fee of $25,000, Peoples said.

"Previously, the amount was based on the volume of trash going through the transfer station, (with) fees around $100,000 per year," he said. "But the sorting portion of the station ceased operation, and we adjusted the fee."