Trash talk to take center stage Nov. 13

A process that began in January and led to the idea of hiring a single hauler to handle garbage pickup in Monticello will likely come to a vote for the city council on Tuesday (Nov. 13). The meeting is a day later than usual due to the Veterans Day holiday.

A committee made up of City Administrator Terry Summers and aldermen Cochran Keating and Jeremy Jones have made a recommendation to hire Advanced Disposal of Decatur to provide trash collection for the city.

Summers notes that it has been a deliberate process in getting to this point.

“It should be noted that this subject was discussed multiple times dating back to Jan. 22. The council and staff have spent a considerable amount of time on this difficult decision. The mayor, council and staff have also appreciated the feedback from the residents after the announcement of the recommended hauler at the Oct. 22 city council meeting,” commented Summers.

City officials say the current system of allowing three haulers to operate in town leads to more wear and tear on city streets and less control over rates and days of pickup.

But some constituents have made it clear they would rather have a choice of who picks up their garbage, even if it means paying more in some cases.

“The calls I have gotten are not mean spirited, but they say, ‘Cochran, I want my choice. I want to use my local guy, and I want my freedom,’” said Keating, who advertised his mobile phone number on Facebook asking residents to call with questions.

Alderman John Miller said he has received similar calls, and indicated at last month’s council session he would vote against the single-hauler proposal.

“The feedback I got unanimously from many people in all the different wards is that they want freedom of choice, and that’s the bottom line,” said Miller. “So I’m coming down on freedom of choice.”

Alderman Wendall Brock also said he may also vote against it, but not due to a lack of merit, but because that is what his constituents have requested.

Three companies were considered before the subcommittee recommended Advanced. Others in the mix are Area Disposal of Peoria and Young’s Disposal of Cisco.

All three currently operate in Monticello.

Judging was based on the plan provided by applicants, their experience, references, financial proposal, and “any other factors relevant to the contractor’s capacity and willingness to satisfy the city’s RFP (request for proposal),” according to the RFP requirements.

The same document also noted it can be “a bit more complicated determining who is the lowest ‘responsive and responsible bidder.’ It is not as simple as looking at the bottom line contract price.”

A fourth bidder, Republic Disposal, was not considered since it the committee felt it did not meet all the requirements of being a “responsive and responsible bidder,” which included higher prices than the other three.

Determining which bid provided the best bottom line price for residents is complicated. Young’s actually has the lowest rate in writing, $8 for those using the smallest tote (35 gallon) and the least frequency (one pickup per month). Advanced made no such distinctions on tote size, with an initial price of $11.57 for once a month service for 35- 65- and 95-gallon containers.

Advanced is less expensive on the other end of the scale at $13 per month for users who want their trash and recycling picked up each week. For Young’s that option with the largest tote is proposed at $15.

Summers said the decision was tough, but that it came down to two things: a $3 charge for extra bags that would be charged by Young’s, and the committee’s opinion that “I think they (Advance) displayed the capacity to satisfy the city’s RFP,” said Summers.

Advanced will pick up garbage placed outside of the tote as long as it is “safely bagged, bundled or otherwise contained and placed neatly along the refuse container.”

Keating said he understands the desire for choice, but has come to the conclusion that trash pickup is more of a “utility, an important part of how the system runs,” and for that purpose the city should have more control.

He adds that, once explained, he has had some constituents tell him they understand the appeal of one hauler.

“It solves so many problems. They tell me, ‘you’re right about wear and tear on the streets and we didn’t realize it.’”

The current system of allowing up to four haulers to become licensed in town was approved in 2015, and included licensing payments and other fees to contribute to road repair. Most companies replaced a per-bag sticker system that preceded it with monthly subscription fees. Young’s is the only hauler to keep stickers at an affordable rate of $3.50, something that appeals to those who generate low amounts of refuse.

Stickers would disappear in the city under the current RFP.

Details of three qualifying bids
All are required to offer– Curbside collection, recycling collection, free containers/totes, free collection for the city (except roll-offs), special event pickup at no charge, one or two-day pickup. Rates listed below are based on the company providing the billing services. They are slightly lower for Advanced Disposal and Area Disposal if the city takes over billing.

Advanced Disposal
Based in – Decatur

Provides service in (partial list) – Illiopolis, Tuscola, Decatur, Villa Grove, Oreana, Moweaqua, also a current license holder in Monticello

Proposed rates – Ranges from $11.57/month for one pickup per month to $13/month for weekly pickup. Rates rise to $13.02 to $14.63 by the fifth year of the contract. No price difference for size of totes. No extra fee for properly bagged/bound garbage placed outside of the provided tote.

Collection day – Tuesday

Senior citizens discount – 10 percent

Snowbirds can suspend? – Yes, with 15 days notice

Rates for other items – bulk collection, $20 per cubic yard; chairs, tables, twin mattresses, sinks, toilets, $20 each; small appliances, push lawn mower, sofa, love eat, other mattresses, bathtub, $25 each; large appliances, $30 each; 20 cubic yard dumpster, $325 per load; 30 cubic yard dumpster, $375 per load.

Area Disposal
Based in – Peoria

Provides services in (partial list) – Cerro Gordo, Argenta, DeWitt, Fisher, Rantoul, also a current license holder in Monticello

Proposed rates – $15.52/month no matter the frequency or size of totes. Rates rise to $17.47 by the fifth year of the contract.

Collection days – Monday and Thursday

Senior citizens discount – Yes

Snowbirds can suspend? – Yes, with 15 days notice

Rates on other items – Community e-waste drive provided for free; additional tote, $3.50 per month; prices on other items not listed in proposal

Young’s Disposal
Based in – Cisco

Provides services in (partial list) – Cisco, also a current license holder in Monticello

Proposed rates – Range from $8/month for 35 gallon tote and once per month pickup to $15/month for 95 gallon tote with weekly pickup. Rates rise to $9 to $16 by the fifth year of the contract. No charge for back door collection for elderly and disabled.

Collection days – Wednesday and Friday

Senior citizens discount – Yes

Snowbirds can suspend? – Yes, with “advanced notice.”

Rates on other items – Extra bags outside totes, $3 each; Mattresses, love seats, chairs, $10 each; box springs, couch (no hide-a-bed), $20 each; curbside cleanups, $30/cubic yard; couches with hide-a-bed, $30; six yard dumpster 10-day rental, $175.


 

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