City trash was back in the news this week as Gene Roberts, the Kent Public Service Director, presented the results from the citywide trash bid to City Council. Make no mistake about it loyalties run deep when it comes to trash service and we certainly appreciate the old adage if it ain’t broke don’t fix it — but in Kent’s case parts of it are indeed broken. With trash trucks running helter skelter all over town every day of the week our neighborhoods suffer from excess noise, exhaust, road damage, and the visual pollution that comes from trash bags being tossed out at the curb 7 days a week. A citywide trash contract could fix all that and with the prospect of saving Kent residents between $250,000 and $500,000 a year Gene and I felt like we had an obligation to talk some trash with City Council.
If you haven’t been following the citywide trash discussion in Kent over the last 3 years we’ve set up a web site just for you. Follow this link to see all the study that’s gone into this idea: Managed Trash Service.
If you have been following the issue then you already know that City Council asked us to put a bid out on the street at the end of 2008 to see what sort of prices we could get for our residents. Like a lot of things the citywide trash concept has a lot of potential benefits but the question that we couldn’t answer at the time was at what price. The only way to get a price was to go out and get bids which is exactly what we did.
We ended up with 3 bids from the 3 largest private haulers working in Kent. Out of 6 service options being bid, R&R Sanitation was the lowest bidder in 5 categories. On average R&R’s prices are 24 to 44% lower than current prices being charged in Kent for the same service. That’s real savings keeping dollars in resident’s pockets.
The only service R&R was higher on was a buy the bag price. The per bag price was 55 cents higher than the current going bag rate in Kent. What we’re trying to determine now is how many Kent residents use a buy the bag type of service. That number is important because if out of our 6,300 accounts only a couple hundred homes use the buy the bag method changing the contract could save the majority of Kent residents a lot of money each year. However, if some 6,000 customers use the buy the bag service then it probably doesn’t make sense financially to go any further.
That’s where we’re at in a nutshell. Council has said that they want the staff to hold a couple of public meetings to review the results with interested citizens and we’ve set February 25th at 7 pm at City Hall as the first meeting date. We’ll probably shoot to hold another meeting in March. Until then Council is delaying any vote on the issue. It’s taken us 3 years to get to this point so there’s no need to rush it now.
In the meantime here are Gene’s summary documents for you to read at your leisure:
1. Summary Memo Download this file
2. Summary Powerpoint Presentation Download this file