Hagerstown eyes trash pickup options

August 09, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER |

The Hagerstown City Council said Tuesday it will consider various refuse collection service options before it commits to a new contract starting next calendar year.

The city's solid-waste contract is set to expire at the end of calendar year 2011, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said.

Tissue presented the council with a list of possible service options to consider including in a bid package he will issue in the coming week.

Council members decided to include all 10 of the alternatives listed on the draft bid sheet, and also asked that an option for less frequent yard waste collection be added.

At the heart of the draft bid package were five options for residential refuse services that included a mix of weekly and twice-weekly trash collection, dual- and single-stream recycling collection, and weekly yard waste collection.

Currently, the city's contractor, Allied Waste, collects trash twice a week and recycling once a week, Tissue said. Among the residential service options was keeping the service as it is now.

Hagerstown presently has dual-stream recycling, through which residents have two recycling bins, one for paper and one for all other co-mingled recyclables.

Single-stream recycling would allow residents to put all their recyclables into a single bin.

Tissue said single-stream recycling would likely come at an additional cost, as the recyclables would go to a processing plant to be separated.

However, he said the convenience of single-stream generally boosts recycling in communities, something Councilwoman Ashley C. Haywood said she would like to see in Hagerstown.

While single-stream recycling could cost more, moving to weekly trash collection could save the city money, Tissue said.

Councilman Martin Brubaker questioned why there was only option for yard waste on the draft bid sheet. He asked that less frequent yard waste collection also be included in a package of options.

Tissue said the city offers weekly yard waste collection between April and mid-December. An option for yard waste collection every other week will be added to the bid sheet, he said.

While Brubaker said the residential options were the critical ones to consider, the board agreed to include additional service alternatives on the final bid sheet.

The council said it also wants to consider a recycling incentive program, offering limited commercial recycling to businesses in the city center, and options for financing, delivery and maintenance of recycling containers.

The cost of refuse service is passed on to city residents, Tissue said. While an incentive program would likely come at an upfront cost, residents who participate can often recuperate much of what they pay for recycling through the incentives, he said.

How much the various options will cost will ultimately influence what the council decides to do, Councilman William Breichner said previously.

"It is going to really depend on our ability to finance things and right now, a change, we would have to find a way to finance that," he said.

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