Trash: City seeks ideas

It’s waste-hauling contract time again for the city of Marietta, and city officials have now pared the original list of five bidders down to two. But before a final decision is made on the five-year contract award, the city administration would like to have some guidance from the public.

Cincinnati-based Rumpke waste and recycling services has been the city’s contractor since 2008 and has submitted a bid to continue that service through 2018 at a total price of $1.04 million annually for basic commercial service and $345,600 annually for basic residential service.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Waste Services of Bowerston in Carroll County, has turned in a bid of $881,196 annually to provide basic commercial service, and $405,120 a year for basic residential.

“Currently our city commercial entities pay a total of $1.31 million a year for trash service,” said city safety-service director Jonathan Hupp. “The amount each individual business pays depends on the size of their trash container and how many times they have the trash picked up every week.”

Residential customers with basic service, including a 33-gallon trash can and 18-20 gallon recycling tub, are currently paying a total $387,120 a year. Hupp said that figures out to an average of $32.44 per customer every two months.

“Apples to apples, the Cardinal bid would represent a huge reduction for commercial customers, but it would increase the rates currently paid by residential customers,” he said. “Rumpke is giving commercial institutions a savings, although not as much as Cardinal, but Rumpke is also providing a discount for residents over the current rate.”

Residential service would drop to a basic price of $28.80 every two months from Rumpke, and $33.76 for the same service by Cardinal under the new contract.

Hupp said the city administration hopes to make a final decision on the contract by April 3, but would like to have some direction from citizens first.

The current waste hauling contract expires June 30.

Some added wrinkles in the new contract specifications, requested by city council and the administration, include customers’ ability to upgrade from the current 18-20 gallon tub for recyclables to a covered 60-65 gallon recycling container, and the ability to set out one bulky item (appliance, furniture, etc.) per quarter at no additional cost.

“We’re pretty satisfied with the current service so far, but having a larger recycling container would be awesome,” said Putnam Avenue resident Kimberly Shears.

She said her family has participated in recycling for several years, and a larger bin would allow them to do more.

Muskingum Drive resident Donna Rowley agreed.

“We’ve been satisfied with the service, too, but I would like to see them pick up large items more often,” she said, adding that she and her husband are in their 70s and it’s difficult to have mattresses or appliances hauled away.

“That would be wonderful,” Rowley said of the availability of a larger recycling container.

“Our current container is filled every week, and a larger container would help quite a bit,” she said.

Rumpke spokesman Jonathan Kissell said the city’s request for larger recycling containers is not uncommon.

“We’ve had requests for larger containers from many of the communities we serve,” he said. “It’s becoming more commonplace as municipalities are seeking to recycle more and trash less.”

Rumpke currently provides waste hauling and recycling services for municipalities in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and parts of West Virginia.

Kissell said the trucks serving the Marietta area are based out of Wellston, Ohio, where the company employs 90 workers.

Wayne Fennimore, a partner in Cardinal Waste Services, said that company currently serves communities in Tuscarawas, Holmes, Harrison and Carroll counties.

“We’ve been in business for about 60 years now, but this is our first time to bid on a contract for Marietta,” he said. “And we’ve told the city that our equipment would be housed in the local area if we’re awarded the contract, and we would be hiring 10 to 14 local employees.”

The other three companies who bid on the Marietta contract included Waste Management of Parkersburg, Kimble Waste Services of Dover and Big O Refuse of Beverly.