Logan County judge/executive Logan Chick and magistrate Thomas Bouldin have made the rounds to each of the county’s four cities pitching a countywide recycling program which would involve a future unified solid waste contract. Now they are waiting to hear from each of them before moving forward.
The idea is to bid a future contract that would include everyone together, which would hopefully drop the costs of service, but most importantly include a curbside recycling program, which is why the county is trying to bring everyone together.
Scott Waste services holds the current contracts with the county, Auburn, Adairville and Lewisburg and also the city of Russellville, who has an independent contract from the others; however, recycling is not part of it. Scott has been working with the county on a recycling pilot program that involves just under 400 customers mostly in magistrate Bouldin’s district. It is the hopes of the county that if everyone is on board with a future unified contract Scott will remain the provider winning the future bid; however, by rebidding the contract it will have to be open to others as well.
The county began the pilot program six months ago offering curbside co-mingling recycling to 327 homes in the county and according to both Chick and Bouldin the program works and the people really seem to like it. Co-mingling means you can throw all recyclables into one container and don’t have to separate them out.
The pilot calls for a separate 96 gallon container, called a tote, which is just like the trash containers Scott customers already use - except it has a different color lid. The 327 homes received one of these containers which hold recyclable materials like cardboard, plastics, paper products and aluminum. They are picked up once a month by Scott Waste instead of regular trash pickup.
Because of the success of the pilot program, the county would like to see it offered to everyone and one of the ways to do that and not charge any additional cost to the customer is to come together as one - the county and four cities - and bid out a longer contract.
The deal is that if Scott Waste is awarded the unified future contract they will agree to providing recycling and keep the cost the same or lower than they are now in exchange for a longer contract. The county’s (along with Auburn, Adairville and Lewisburg) current contract with Scott ends in 2015 and the city of Russellville’s ends a year earlier in 2014.
“We would be rebidding a future contract with all the cities and county together,” said Bouldin. “If we rebid and Scott is the successful bidder they are willing to back up to present time and start providing the recycling,” added Bouldin.
One of the points Bouldin has made in his presentation was that Scott was going to offer the recycling with no additional charge to customers and that it would be a large investment for Scott to purchase the hundreds of tote containers and would need a longer contract to be able to off-sett that cost.
Chick and Bouldin began by talking to the city of Russellville several weeks ago. The council seemed to like the idea, but wanted to make sure they would be allowed to keep their franchise agreement which generates revenue for the city. They were assured everything would stay the same as far as each city’s deals with the provider.
The county then moved on to Auburn, Adairville and Lewisburg councils. Judge Chick said Adairville seemed to also approve of the initiative, as did the city of Auburn who voted unanimously to follow the county’s lead. Chick said Lewisburg’s council liked the idea as well, but wanted to feel out their constituents first to see if they would want recycling.
Bouldin said the cities and county will be able to make a little money off of recycling as well, not much, but some. Chick said the county is getting approximately $100 a month from the 327 homes in the pilot program now. If the county and cities all go into a contract together, a calculation will be done to separate the generated revenue.
“I’ve had tons and tons of feedback and this program has been very well received,” said Bouldin, who recycles himself.
Bouldin would like to see the service supplied on a 50/50 basis, which means one week pick up trash the next week pick up recyclables. There was question about what people would do if they had more trash piling up rather than recyclables. Scott Waste representative Tommy Mosley has said he didn’t see that happening because this program forces the public to manage their garbage.
Mosley did say if that problem arose Scott would come out and pick up the trash. “A house is not going to produce anymore trash because of this program,” said Bouldin, adding that the customer will be separating out their recyclables which leaves room in the garbage can.
Judge Chick said they are now waiting to hear the official word from each of the four cities before moving forward. If they are all on board, then the county will begin further discussions with each city as to what they want in the contract before bidding it out.