Whitehall trash contract under consideration would include containers

KEVIN CORVO
kcorvo@thisweeknews.com
Local Waste Services workers empty waste containers in Hilliard last year. The city of Whitehall is considering a new five-year deal with the company for trash and recycling collection.

Pending a Whitehall City Council decision, residents could have uniform containers for solid waste and recyclables.

Residents also would pay more for solid-waste disposal and recycling next year, but the increase would be less than if Whitehall had opted not to include uniform containers, said Megan Meyer, community-affairs manager for Whitehall.

Legislation renewing a five-year contract with Local Waste Services was introduced July 21 by City Council and advanced to a Tuesday, Aug. 4, second reading with no discussion.

The legislation is expected to receive a third and final reading Aug. 18, Meyer said.

The monthly fee for refuse disposal and recycling will increase under the new five-year consortium contract effective Jan. 1, 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, who are billed quarterly, pay $13.75 per month for solid-waste disposal and recycling, but those are the rates under the five-year contract with Local Waste Services that will expire Dec. 31, Meyer said.

Had the city kept the status quo of residents providing containers, the monthly rate would have increased to $19.20, Meyer said.

But under the proposed contract renewal, residents would receive a solid-waste container and a 64-gallon recycling container in an effort to increase the city's diversion rate of solid waste from the landfill, Meyer said.

The containers for solid waste would come in multiple sizes.

For a 48-gallon solid-waste container, the monthly rate would be $16.20. For a 64-gallon container, the rate would be $17.20. For a 96-gallon container, the rate would be $18.20.

"Costs (for refuse collection and recycling) have continued to rise, so we expected an increase," Meyer said.

"We are going to have a rate increase. The question is how much," council member Wes Kantor said. "I know residents do not want a rate increase, but we have not had one for 10 years. We have been very fortunate."

Kantor said he has not decided if he will support the proposed legislation.

"I've listened to the pros and cons and to the residents," he said. "But under the current proposal, the increase will be less (than the other option without containers)."

If the City Council were to reject the proposed legislation, the administration would need to present alternate legislation to renew a contract, Kantor said.

Council member Lori Elmore said she supports the proposed system.

"The benefits of having a two-cart system allows for the right-sizing of services, or paying for what is used," Elmore said. "It promotes community branding, reduces costs, (reduces) litter and it is safer to haul."

Zach Woodruff, director of development and public service, said although the city had the benefit of locking in rates when the current five-year contract began in 2016, officials were "not surprised by the prices" of the new contract.

The city also would lock in the new rates for the entire term of the new five-year contract, Woodruff said.

The city plans to purchase the containers rather than lease them, with the advantage of owning the containers when the time comes to negotiate a new contract, Meyer said.

In addition to a lower rate increase and boosting diversion from the landfill, a uniform two-cart system would provide covered containers to reduce the instances of materials blowing out of open containers or animals ransacking bags of trash, Woodruff said.

Whitehall's collection day, Wednesday, would not change under the new contract, Meyer said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo