Whitehall residents will pay more for trash disposal next year, but the increase might come with uniform waste and recycling containers.
The city plans to decide by the end of July whether to make uniform containers part of a new five-year contract renewal with Local Waste Services, said Megan Meyer, community affairs manager for Whitehall.
The monthly fee for refuse disposal and recycling would increase under the new consortium contract, Meyer said.
The city of Groveport, the village of Brice, and Clinton, Pleasant, Sharon and Truro townships are included in the consortium with Whitehall.
Whitehall residents currently pay $13.75 per month for solid-waste disposal and recycling, Meyer said.
The monthly rate will increase to between $16.20 and $19.20, depending on the program Whitehall chooses, Meyer said.
The city's five-year contract with Local Waste Services ends Dec. 31.
Whitehall already solicited bids and Local Waste Services was the lowest and best bid, Meyer said.
The city plans to renew its contract with Local Waste Services but must determine if it will continue the status quo of residents providing their own containers, or if the city will provide containers.
If the city keeps the status quo, the monthly rate will increase to $19.20.
Residents are billed quarterly.
"Costs (for refuse collection and recycling) have continued to rise, so we expected an increase," Meyer said.
Whitehall service director Zach Woodruff said while the city had the benefit of locking in rates when the current five-year contract began in 2016, the city was "not surprised by the prices" of the new contract.
The city also will lock in the new rates for the entire term of the five-year contract, he said.
"Right now, residents use their own variety of containers (or) simply put trash bags on the curb," Meyer said.
Eighteen-gallon totes for recyclable materials are available at the city's service department and are used by an undetermined number of residents, Woodruff said.
If the city chooses uniform containers, Meyer said, it will purchase the containers rather than lease them, with the advantage of owning the containers when the time comes to negotiate a new contract.
If uniform containers are used, the monthly rates would be lower than if residents continue to use their own containers.
If a 48-gallon solid-waste container is selected, the monthly rate is $16.20. For a 64-gallon container, the rate is $17.20. If a 96-gallon container is selected, the rate is $18.20.
Each resident would receive the same 64-gallon recycling container in an effort to increase the city's diversion rate of solid waste from the landfill, Meyer said.
Whitehall has a diversion rate of about 14% – far behind Franklin County's average of nearly 50%, according to the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, Meyer said.
The city collected public input from its website in June and will use it in making its decision, Meyer said.
The city also conducted a pilot program in June that involved 10 elected officials and 10 residents.
Those 20 residents received the uniform containers, Woodruff said.
"We wanted our elected officials to have a first-hand look at the two-cart system," he said.
In addition to lower rates and increasing the diversion from the landfill, the two-cart system provides covered containers that will reduce the instances of materials blowing out of open containers or animals ransacking bags of trash, Woodruff said.
"We think most of our residents understand the benefits (of the two-cart system)," Woodruff said.
Whitehall's service day, Wednesday, would not change under the new contract, Meyer said.