Last week the City’s Public Service Director, Gene Roberts gave a presentation to City Council concerning options to consider regarding possible changes to trash service management in Kent. As you probably know, Kent residents currently make arrangements with a private trash hauler for trash service on their own (also known as a trash free-for-all). This is the first city I’ve worked in that didn’t manage trash service in any way and based on Gene’s research I tend to agree that it’s time to at least look at our options. Many communities have decided that there are advantages to their residents to have the city participate in managing trash services and Gene described those advantages to City Council in his presentation.
After Gene’s presentation, City Council voted to allow staff to continue to research this issue and they asked us to bring back a recommendation later this year for Council to consider.
Here’s the memo that started it all and if you scroll all the way down you can watch Gene’s powerpoint from the Council meeting.
From: Bill Lillich, Safety Director
Gene Roberts, Public Service Director
John Ferlito, Health Commissioner
RE: City Wide Trash Hauler Franchise
On October 25, 2006, Kent City Council requested staff to investigate City Wide Trash Hauler Franchising and during discussions of the Pending List Council was informed that they would be provided an update prior to the end of summer. The following information and attached matrix is provide of Council’s consideration. During our preliminary informational investigation, several positive issues surfaced and some issues which create concern but as an initial summary, the potential for citywide trash pickup service seems very plausible.
Staff investigated the feasibility of implementation of a City Wide Trash Hauler Franchise. What was learned is there appears to be a wide range of methods currently in place and being used by other Cities. The most simple of methods is bidding trash service for a community’s residents allowing for rate stability and equality and the trash hauler companies work for and invoice directly the individual residents. The other end of the spectrum includes City’s where municipal employees and equipment are used to pickup residents’ trash.
Currently in the City there are eight companies licensed by the Health Department to operate in the City. The Health Department licensure process is designed to verify that the equipment operating in the City is safe from a health standpoint (i.e. that trash trucks are not leaking fluids onto the City streets). Using a factor of 75-percent of the eight licensed companies operating on each city street equates to six trash trucks on each City street collecting trash weekly.
Operationally there are a few trash haulers that could collect all trash from all residential property in one day. However, it is reported that if the City could be divided into quarters additional companies could bid based on their current available equipment and manpower. Dividing the City into quarters has the additional benefit of trash removal operations four days a week thus placing equipment in the City to respond to requests for additional services as requested by the City.
Discussions continued regarding bidding the franchise to include the total City or individual quadrants of the City. Two issues surfaced, first the potential for service cost differential between different areas of the City and second the possibility that one quadrant may not receive bids.
Review has determined that typical franchise agreements in other communities are for 5-years. The agreements are structured as 3-years at a guaranteed price with two one-year options to be exercised by the City. Typically negotiations with the vendor that demonstrates an increased operational cost such as cost of fuel, labor or dumping charges are the bases for a cost increases to the trash hauler. Additionally the agreements typically include a fuel surcharge and land fill fees increase clause that defines when and if additional costs associated with increased operating costs could be passed to the City.
The last topic investigated is how to handle commercial and industrial accounts. The recommendation that the City not venture into the commercial and industrial trash service because of the major differential that occurs between commercial and industrial versus residential accounts. As an example, some commercial accounts receive daily or every other day pickup where others require every other week pickup. Industrial accounts depending on what is deposited in a dumpster may require special handling.
We respectfully request Council Agenda time to discuss staff preliminary findings and determine Councils interest in continuing further staff efforts to determine detail contract, costs and operational specifics for implementation of Citywide Residential Franchise Trash Collection Service.
CLICK HERE to review Gene’s powerpoint presentation.