Whether or not switch is made to cart system, officials warn it will be tough to cover higher cost
Village of Fredonia officials are learning there is a lot more to signing a garbage-hauling contract than simply picking the vendor.
About two dozen residents attended an informational session before last week’s Village Board meeting to explain trash collection options.
The session underlined the point that there is no consensus in the community on whether the village should pay a premium to continue curbside collection of trash and recyclables in bags or take advantage of the price breaks offered by switching to automated cart systems.
Fredonia is the only village or city in the county that doesn’t use carts.
Representatives of Advanced Disposal and Waste Management were on hand to answer questions, although the biggest difference between the packages offered by the haulers was price.
The village’s current contract with Advanced Disposal, formerly Veolia Environmental, expires in July.
That contract charges the village $9.41 per household every month for garbage collection, which includes weekly trash and recycling. The village provides trash collection to 677 homes.
The per-household cost of the new contract depends on the length of the agreement and the level of service provided.
Advanced Disposal’s base bid is $10.85 a month, which includes the use of 95-gallon carts. Bulky items, such as furniture, would not be picked up at the curb without an additional charge.
The Waste Management base bid is $16.50 per month, which would continue collection of trash in bags and the use of 18-gallon bins for recycling provided by the hauler. Bulky items would be included in the curbside collection.
A variety of options were also included in the bids, including recycling every week or alternate week timetables.
In a bid analysis, Public Works Director Roger Strohm recommended accepting the bid from Advanced Disposal, using automated collection and biweekly recyclable pick up.
“Anyway we go, it is going to end up costing us more,” Village President Chuck Lapicola said.
Garbage costs are currently covered by the village’s property tax, which Lapicola said poses a particular challenge because communities must meet state-imposed levy limits.
One possibility, Lapicola said, would be to pay for garbage charges through user fees separate from the property tax.
“No business, and that is what the village actually is, can stay in business if it is unable to increase prices. What we do, and we aren’t sure what we will end up doing, might be something like setting a garbage fee,” he said.
Without any significant increase in the local tax base, Lapicola said the village will have to scramble to cover even the least expensive alternative for waste collection.
After the informational meeting, trustees asked Strohm to get clarifications on how the bids would change if the length of the new contract was reduced from 10 years to five years.
Without voting on a specific bid, trustees said the switch to carts is all but assumed based on price.
“From a cost perspective, I don’t see any way we can keep bags,” Trustee Scott Ehaney said.
“I want the best price we can get for the village, but frankly we can’t afford a whole lot,” Lapicola said.