At the May meeting of the Greenwood City council aldermen began a discussion that could ultimately result in the city performing their own trash and recycling pick up. The topic was spurred by a request from Altes Sanitation for an increase due to a recent hike in landfill fees.
The city awarded Altes the three year contract last year and is just five months into that contract. Altes bid was for $9.40 for each residential pickup and $1 each for recycling,
Greenwood Mayor, Doug Kinslow, stated that he had been visited by Bobby Altes a few months ago and requested the increase of $1.20 to $1.30 per household.
According to the current contract either party (the city or Altes) can terminate the contract with a 30 days notice.
“In my opinion it looks bad,” said Kinslow. “I think councilman McDaniel said it best when he said it sets a bad precedent to win a contract and then allow it to be undone because of a higher cost on their end.”
Kinslow then stated that he, the finance department and the street department are investigating the possibility of the city going into the trash pick business itself instead of contracting the job out to outside agencies.
“It makes sense to look into it,” said Kinslow.
Finance Director, Thomas Marsh, stated that the largest hurdle for the city would be the startup cost with new trash cans for each resident costing $250,000 if the city were to purchase automated remote trash pick up trucks, which themselves would run the city approximately $260,000 - $290,000 each.
“We are looking at about $850,000 in startup cost for the Cadillac version,” said Marsh. “That is not for used trucks, that is brand new.”
Marsh stated that there may be some unforeseen benefits to the city such as grants that may help offset some of the costs.
Marsh also said that the only missing piece of the equation is the cost to the city by the landfill in Fort Smith.
Simon Wiley, head of the street department, suggested to the council that if the city were to do this that they do away with curbside recycling in favor of letting citizens utilize the recycling center next to the street department. “We have a perfectly good facility here in town,” said Wiley. “Only 250 - 300 household participate.”
Councilman Rod Powell requested that the recycling be figured into the total so that the city can compare “apples to apples”.
Alderman, Tim Terry, stated that he would like to know at what point the city would begin to see a profit from performing their own trash pick up.
“It seems to me that if we cut out the middle man we might be in a position to lower trash rates and still make money,” said Terry.
The council tabled further discussion for 30 days. More information about the costs of providing the trash pick up and possible services the city could offer will be addressed at the June meeting.
No action was taken on the increase requested by Altes. No one from Altes Sanitation attended the May meeting.