Council discusses possibility of privatizing hauling operations
Niagara County Environmental Coordinator, Dawn Timm, sat down with the council to discuss the city’s various options for waste management savings. Currently, the city spends $1.48 million a year to collect waste. Timm compared the current public hauling costs of recyclables, bulk and refuse, to the same services that could be provided by a private sector.
• Option 1: Control/Current Program
• Option 2: Private hauling for all services, weekly recycling collection
• Option 2a: Private hauling for all services, every-other-week recycling collection
• Option 3: Private Refuse Hauling, Public Bulk, Public weekly recycling collection
• Option 3a: Private Refuse Hauling, Public Bulk, Public every-other week recycling collection
The council seemed to be mostly interested in option 3a, which could save the city around $230,000. Council President Carleton Zeisz said if they went with this option, residents wouldn’t have to worry about paying for a separate tax.
“One thing people are passionate about in this city is getting their garbage picked up,” he said. “There’s no way we will make residents pay their tax bill and then pay extra for this.”
Superintendent of Public Works, Neil Myers attended the meeting and had a few concerns regarding the cost savings amount, in comparison to the amount of labor provided by private sectors.
“If we’re going to compare numbers, we pick up anything and everything,” said Myers. “We can’t be compared to someone who picks up one tote.”
The council also has to consider how many residents recycle every week; and if pick up once every two weeks would actually be enough. Members agreed that the only way to get a true number of savings is a request for proposal; that way the risks and benefits of amending the program can be accessed. Timm said they would work hard to find the most cost effective manner for the city.
The council agreed even if they decide not to privatize, they will still look into getting larger recycling totes. Residents could go from having 18 gallon totes to 65 gallon totes. The council also agreed there would be absolutely no lay-offs in any waste management option they choose.