Welch asks for public hearing and input on waste hauler contract

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[July 21, 2017]  LINCOLN - On Tuesday evening, the Lincoln City Council met for their Committee of the Whole Workshop. Five aldermen were present, Rick Hoefle, Kathy Horn, Ron Keller, Steve Parrott and Tracy Welch.

Included in the items discussed for the next voting agenda were bid proposals for trash collection services within the city limits. The city has been looking into a hauler contract that would offer options for recycling that in the end could cost less than the annual support paid to the Logan County Joint Solid Waste program. Currently the LCJSW is serving the city without a clear contract for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The city council voted to extend their contract with the LCJSW recently, while they continue to investigate other options.

Tuesday, City Administrator Clay Johnson said the city had gone out for bid on a contract with specifications that included three options for waste hauling and recycling. Three companies - Area Disposal, Advanced Disposal, and Waste Management had submitted bids.

Johnson explained what the options were.

Option one: Weekly collection of garbage and recycling curbside.

Option two: Weekly collection of garbage and collection of recycling every-other-week

Option three: Weekly collection of garbage and a collection bin location in the city, similar to what is on Kickapoo Street and managed by the LCJSW.

Johnson said additional specifications were that the entire city be collected within one business day, but said the city would consider a proposal that would divide the city into regions, IF that would provide a savings to the homeowner or property owner.

Johnson said there were not cut and dried bids, because of the various options.

He also noted that Area Disposal had submitted a fourth option that permitted them to provide the recycling bins to customers with recycling collected every two weeks, but also permitted for a large collection bin at a public location. That bid came in at $14.71 per month per customer with a two-point-five percent escalator.

All bids are for the contract to begin October 1st. All the bids were projected out for five years. The base contract would be 3 years with an additional two year option.

Advance Disposal bid for 2017
$16.25 for option one

$15.25 for option two
$14.25 for option three

Waste Management bid
Option one: $21.20
Option two: $18.30
Option three: $15.30

Area Disposal bid
Option one: $16.57
Option two: $15.17
Option three: 13.05
Additional fourth option: $14.71

Reviewing the net costs of the contracts, Johnson said that Waste Management’s bids were not comparable to the others, so eliminating them from consideration, the other two companies were left as the best options.

Comparing the costs, he noted that Advanced Disposal was the lower of the two in option one. In Option two, the 2017 price was higher from Advanced, but over a five year period would end up being less costly for the consumer, but minimally.

In option three Area was the lowest cost.

Johnson said that the two companies were offering comparable pricing, so what he felt the aldermen needed to consider was the level of service provided.

Johnson also offered a professional opinion that the first option was pretty high and offered services residents may not need. He said specifically that he felt there was a small chance that any resident would fill a 95 gallon recycling bin each week, so perhaps looking at the recycling collection every other week might be best.

Johnson said that in the request for proposals the city had included specifications for city-wide cleanup events, trash collection during festivals and other events, and a discount for senior citizens. All three had complied with the request.

Rick Hoefle offered comments and questions. He said he had checked his personal trash bill, and noted that these bids were less, so he felt like the companies were offering a “pretty good deal.” However, he said that in the past, the trash hauler had added a fuel surcharge to the bill, and he wondered if that would be possible with these contracts. Johnson said it would not. He told the council “The amount quoted will be the amount charged.” He went on to say that the companies might add an administrative fee to the accounts that pay with a credit card.

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Tracy Welch said that he could see there were pros and cons to this type of program, but what he noted was that the city would be saving the dollars paid to the LCJSW, which comes to $65,000 per year.

He noted that there were differences in how the billing would be handled. He said one company was going to do the billing to Lincoln residents, while another had stated that the city would have to do the billing. He noted that the mandated plan would also impact the zoning and ordinance programs.

Welch concluded that he wanted to take his time considering this, and that he also wanted the city to take the time to collect constituent feedback about the program.

Hoefle said that there was another subject to consider. He said “This is going to be a mandate. I agree with Alderman Welch, I want the public to not only understand the savings, but understand they are all in. How are we going to make those who currently don’t use any of our disposals; how are we going to bring them in?”

Hoefle commented on the savings of $65,000 per year and said he wanted to see that money go toward something positive, “even a tax reduction to the citizens.” He said that that giving the taxpayers the savings could make the mandate “more palatable.”

Johnson said that he felt that the mandate would actually help the code enforcement office with some of its trash issues. He said that if the city were to mandate constituent participation, the aldermen would have to pass an ordinance requiring participation.

A member of the audience immediately questioned the legality of such a mandate. Johnson said that it was legal, and he named off several other towns that have this type of program and run it successfully.

City Treasurer Chuck Conzo commented that mandating would add costs to constituents who are currently not subscribing to a trash service. He said that these could be folks who have a very good reason for not paying for trash service. He also noted that creating a mandate was denying the citizens of Lincoln the freedom of choice.

Ron Keller said he agreed with Welch, that aldermen should take their time in considering this and should talk to the residents in their respective wards. Welch reiterated he felt there needed to be a public hearing. He said he wanted to table any action.

Johnson said the topic should be tabled until the July 17th meeting of the council, and Mayor Seth Goodman then verified the councils wished to table this item and hold a public hearing. All those present appeared to agree by nod of head.

Contact information for Lincoln aldermen is listed below:

Steve Parrott Alderman Ward 1 - Phone: 217-871-9224

Tracy Welch Alderman Ward 1 - Phone: (217)671-1589

Kathleen Horn Alderman Ward 2 - Phone: 217-732-3437

Michelle Bauer Alderman Ward 2 - Phone: 217-750-1061

Ron Keller Alderman Ward 3 - Phone: 217-732-5476

Heidi Browne Alderwoman Ward 3 - Phone: 217-871-4061

Rick Hoefle Alderman Ward 4 - Phone: 612-805-9845

Jeff Hoinacki Alderman Ward 4 - Phone: 217-871-7504

The city of Lincoln website also provides an email resource. Use this LINK 
And follow the drill-down for your alderman to the “contact form” page.

Additional Information

Press release from the city of Lincoln

Copy of information presented to the council:

[Nila Smith]

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