Rumpke gets Barlow Twp. trash contract

BARLOW TWP.-For residents and businesses in Barlow Township, it will soon be Rumpke or nothing as far as their trash pickup is concerned.

After months of public meetings, boisterous public opposition and some less vocal pockets of support, two out of three of the Barlow Township trustees voted in favor Monday of signing the three-year agreement which bars other trash companies from providing service inside the township, but does not go so far as to mandate that all residents have trash service.

“I want to take the time to thank everybody for this process. I know everybody isn’t going to be pleased, but we’re not forcing anyone to take the service,” said Trustee Darren Roddy to approximately a dozen residents gathered at Monday’s meeting.

Roddy, who voted in favor of the contract, noted that the contract makes it possible for almost all Barlow residents to pay much lower rates on trash service and will also reduce heavy garbage truck traffic on township roads. Currently, six trash services provide pickup in the township.

Trustee Richard Best also voted to approve the contract.

Trustee John Hannan, who cast the opposing vote, said he is supportive of cheaper rates, but has had reservations about the way the decision process was handled.

Barlow residents have accused township trustees of not being transparent enough about their intentions to choose a single provider for the entire township.

Resident Neal Kehl questioned why the trustees hold their regular meetings in the morning when most working men and women can not attend.

Roddy said the trustees switched to morning meetings years ago because the previous evening meetings had not been well attended.

Meetings involving the garbage contract decision have not faced the same apathy. January’s regular meeting, which was moved to an evening session, was attended by around 70 residents voicing concern or support.

Some of those major concerns seemed to have been addressed by line item changes and addendums to the contract, which was drafted more than a month ago with Rumpke, after they underbid Waste Management and Kimble Company for the service.

One of the most repeated complaints about the contract was that the wording implied every single household would be billed for trash service whether they used it or not.

“I’d like to know how you’re going to decide who on the route is going to have to pay for trash,” said resident Dan Zimmer at Monday’s meeting.

Originally, the contract gave “the Township” the exclusive right to grant exemptions from service if residents and businesses could prove they had another legal way to dispose of trash.

However, the exemption wording was completely stricken from the final contract and replaced with a statement that Barlow Township does not mandate trash pickup for their residents and that the township makes no guarantees as to how many residents will use Rumpke’s service.

“We changed the wording on the bags ’cause that was a sticking point with people,” pointed out Rumpke representative Tom Wallace.

Residents also worried the contract’s previous wording would only allow for containers to be picked up, and not loose bags of garbage. The issue was clarified by changing an “and” to an “or” to include bags as well.

The trustees also nixed language that could have required them to help Rumpke investigate theft of services and collect on unpaid bills.

“I’m glad the township did not take on the responsibility of collecting fees,” said resident Sue Kesterson.

If Rumpke’s legal department approved the contract, Barlow residents can expect to start service with Rumpke on April 1, the start of the quarterly billing cycle.

Rumpke will send letters to all residents advising them of their service options and letting them know they need to call to set up service, said Wallace.