M-I trash pickup changes due

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- Monmouth and Independence leaders voted earlier this year to upgrade the level of trash service to be offered in the two communities.



MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- Monmouth and Independence leaders voted earlier this year to upgrade the level of trash service to be offered in the two communities.

But the cities are still attempting to hash out details of a new franchise agreement with current provider, Brandt's Sanitation.

Should both City Councils and Brandt's settle on terms, new service offerings would go into effect as early as September, said Dennis Trine, company manager.

Unlike the current system, Brandt's would issue all waste receptacles to households. This includes a trash can ranging from 35 to 95 gallons, a 90-gallon unit for recyclables, and a 65-gallon container for yard debris.

Brandt's trucks will be modified for automatic pickup, and the provider would collect trash on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis. Recyclables and yard debris would be retrieved twice a month.

There will be cost increases for the revamped service. For example, the current rate for weekly trash pickup with a small recycling bin is $15.10 per month. Under the upgrade, that price would bump to about $20 per month.

But citizens would now have biweekly curbside yard debris pickup, and could possibly decrease their bills by more aggressively recycling items and going to a reduced trash-pickup schedule, Monmouth City Manager Scott McClure said.

"Our area is one of the only ones left in the Willamette Valley and Portland that doesn't have options for curbside recycling and standardized containers," McClure said. "We're kind of behind the times."

Brandt's and the cities must enter into a franchise agreement before any changes occur. The parties have been mulling a seven-year rolling agreement, in which their contract renews for seven years at the end of a given year, unless the cities decide otherwise.

Estele Harlan, a waste disposal consultant hired by Brandt's, said the capital associated with the upgrade -- retrofitting trucks and issuing about 17,000 cans to customers -- will cost about $1 million.

A seven-year agreement is typically the "minimal assurance" sought by loaning institutions for that critical funding, Harlan said.

A concern of Independence officials is that under the current contract language, if they choose to alter an agreement, the rolling provision stops, but the city is still locked into a final, seven-year term.

If Brandt's ever decided to sell its business, this format also limits the ability of the cities to have input regarding the new provider, Independence City Attorney Rich Rodeman said.

Independence City Manager Greg Ellis said he believes the communities could probably agree to contract provisions with Brandt's to address both those issues.



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