City Council Talks Trash
Shane Kelton, Operations Director for the City of San Angelo, presented the Council with options for the future of the City’s waste management program following the expiration of the current contract with Republic Services on July 4, 2014 at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
In addressing options, Kelton and the Council took it one-by-one and expressed their interest and concerns for what the future contract should include.
The first item up for discussion was whether to implement the automated ‘cart’ system or to maintain manual pick up. The Council was unanimous in their agreement that a future contract should implement the cart system, which eliminates the need for trash men in the City.
San Angelo citizens have expressed dissent on the issue in the past, arguing that the program is not only more costly, but also disallows citizens to utilize their on cans for trash purposes.
Mayor Dwain Morrison, councilman Johnny Silvas and councilman Rodney Fleming all agreed on the same points. “[The cart system is] the future and that’s pretty much where it’s going nationwide,” Fleming said.
Councilman Winkie Wardlaw mentioned the cart’s current success in trial areas throughout the city. “We have a pilot program over there in Santa Rita and I’ve not heard anyone that’s not happy with it,” Wardlaw said.
With Council support behind the implementation of the cart system, the frequency of pick up became the topic of discussion, which is also reliant upon a decision on the city’s future plan for recycling.
Kelton asked the Council: “Is a recycling program something you’d like to see implemented?”
The question was immediately answered with a solid ‘yes’ from Fleming. Councilman Marty Self followed in chorus, “My wife said don’t come home without recycling. I know who runs my household, so I think I have to vote for recycling,” he said to laughs.
But with support on the Council and in the community, concerns of cost may prove prohibitive. “I know a lot of people are for recycling,” said councilman Don Vardeman, “but I’m not sure how excited the citizens are going to be about the cost.”
In order to address the cost issue, pick up frequency was discussed as a possible resolution. Currently, residential waste is picked up twice a week by Republic Services. Councilmembers suggested that with the implementation of a recycling system, reducing that pick up to once weekly may be a viable option that would help balance costs.
Silvas noted that the carts currently used by Republic Services hold 90 gallons, much larger than typical Rubbermaid bins used privately throughout the city, and suggested that a single pick up would suffice in conjunction with the recycling program.
City Manager Daniel Valenzuela supported Silvas’ statement recalling living in Eagle Pass in a family of five on an automated cart system. “We always managed to do fine with a once-a-week pick up,” he said.
Still, the concern was that both limiting the pick up and implementing recycling might not be the most effective manner of approaching a new contract for the citizens.
Following arguments by Vardeman and Wardlaw for maintaining a twice-weekly pick up with the option to alter that at a later date, the Council moved forward.
With cost a deciding factor in drafting a new contract, Kelton asked the Council if future contracts will include exclusivity clauses for recycling.
Following the statements of two local recycling company owners speaking on behalf of their viability and a presentation by David Gregory of Texas Disposal Systems, the Council voted unanimously for a Request for Proposal, thus allowing all interested entities to throw their hats into the ring for the waste management contract bid.
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