Garbage rates likely going up for city residents

January 11, 2013
A Waste Management garbage truck was on the job on North Main Street Thursday. - Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter Order a Print

It looks to be inevitable that Washington residents will have to pay more for removal of their garbage and recyclables, according to Mayor Brenda Davis.

“If everyone paid, the increase wouldn’t be that high,” said Davis, referring to the city’s new three-year contract with Waste Management that will cost $814,623 per year, a $150,000 increase from 2008. Waste Management was the only bidder.

Council approved the solid waste portion of the contract at a cost of $691,418 at a special meeting Dec. 31. The contract was Waste Management’s second bid after council decided to seek new bids for the contract at the request of Councilman Matt Staniszewski.

That first bid of $582,048 was tabled after Staniszewski asked that an option limiting the weight of garbage trucks to 22,500 pounds be added. He said the higher weights could be deteriorating some city streets. Staniszewski is the city’s public works director.

But the second bid came in $131,578 higher than the first bid, said Davis, while the option to use lighter trucks would have cost the city about $700,000 more.

Staniszewski said the contracts were rebid because the original specifications were released without council approval. Davis said the specifications were fine but agreed to rebidding the contract to meet Staniszewski’s needs.

At the Dec. 31 meeting, council decided to rebid the recycling portion of the contract with the hopes of adding another collection day for recyclables. Waste Management was offering to pick up recyclables twice a month, but only on Fridays. Currently city residents put out their trash and recyclables on the same day, although recyclables are now picked up just once a month.

At its meeting Thursday night, council finally accepted the Waste Management recycling bid at a cost of $123,204 per year for monthly pickup. The cost is an increase of $3,677 from 2008.

“Thank goodness this bid didn’t double like the solid waste,” Davis said.

Residents currently pay $175 a year for trash pickup. In 2012, the city collected $694,055 with 3,975 out of 4,552 residents paying their bills in a timely manner.

Davis said while the city is trying to find money to keep the rates in line, she doubts that will be possible. Council has not yet set the trash pickup rate for this year.

Linda Metz has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2000, covering Washington County courts and politics, as well as the city of Washington. She previously was employed by the Tribune Review. She is a graduate of Point Park College, now a university, in Pittsburgh.

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