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City Council told trash collections fees might increase

October 19, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown residents could pay as much as 30 percent more for trash collection starting in January unless City of Hagerstown officials are able to renegotiate with one of two qualified bidders that sought to collect the city's trash in a new contract starting Jan. 1.

"At the end of the day, we only received two legitimate bids," City Engineer Rodney Tissue told the City Council on Tuesday. "Their bids are high. We're looking at a significant increase in the rates as a result of their bids. We feel that we can sit down with them and do better."

The city's current contract with Browning Ferris Industries (BFI) of Maryland, now Allied Waste Services, expires at the end of the year. Tissue said in a recent bidding effort, seven companies bought the city's contract documents but only three - including Allied, Ecology and a third, which was dismissed because it failed to meet the city's bidding requirements - submitted bids.

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Allied, the low bidder, has proposed to nearly double its cost for base service, from $546,000 to $1,041,093. With the new contract, residents now paying $27 a quarter for trash collection, paper recycling and yard-waste collection would pay $35 with the new contract.

Tissue noted those rates are still less than others within Washington County, which vary from $54 to $85 per quarter. He said he expects to be able to report back to the council within weeks the result of his negotiations with Allied. Tissue said under state bidding requirements, he needed the council's permission to renegotiate with Allied, which he easily received Tuesday.

"I say go back to the table," Councilwoman Kelly Cromer said.

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