Carbondale trash hauling contract overcomes two speedbumps
As Carbondale nears ratification of an agreement with Mountain Waste to provide garbage-hauling services for the town, trustees addressed two issues of concern Tuesday night.
Shortly after the town board selected Mountain Waste on March 19 to provide for residential pickup, town facility pickup and yard waste, the company was acquired by Vancouver-based Waste Connections, Inc.
Waste Connections completed the purchase of Mountain Waste April 2, according to Waste Connections representative Aaron Bradley.
At the same time, the company purchased three other Colorado waste haulers, Bradley said: Timberline Disposal, LLC, Vail Honeywagon Waste Services and Pro Disposal & Recycling.
“Everything we’ve been told in the representations that have been made through this transition process is that nothing is changing locally,” Kevin Schorzman, Carbondale director of public works, said at the Tuesday town board meeting.
“The same folks that were listed in the (proposal) who were going to service this contract … (are) staying in place,” Schorzman said.
Bradley said the acquisition of Mountain Waste should be considered as new parent ownership. Bradley said the company has no intention of changing the name or services Mountain Waste provides, and wants to keep the management local.
“We’re firm believers that it’s a locally run business, and we’re not going to change that,” Bradley said.
After questions from Trustee Lani Kitching, Bradley said the one policy area that Waste Connection would change or make a priority at Mountain Waste is safety practices.
Town Manager Jay Harrington pointed out that the buyout by Waste Connections would likely benefit the trash collection services. Mountain Waste’s proposal, which the town accepted, would have charged customers for the smallest size trash can, if that level of service was selected.
When Waste Connections began speaking with the town, it offered to update the agreement to provide the first small can to the customer, as it will with the other-size receptacles.
Local organic waste collection and diversion company Evergreen Zero Waste raised an objection to a clause in the contract that states Mountain Waste “may choose to provide additional collection services directly to the customer,” including organic collection, and “bill customers directly for any additional collection services.”
Due to the complexity of the issue and other reasons, the board did not include organic collection in the waste hauling services.
But as the single trash hauler, Evergreen Zero Waste founder Dave Reidel said Mountain Waste would have an unfair access to potential customers.
“With the contractors direct, unfettered access to the entire town, this non-transparent allowance is a direct threat to the popular, free-market, one-and-only local, one-and-only family-owned compost collection program,” Reidel said.
The board refused to restrict Mountain Waste from providing organics collection — a service they already provide — but did agree to update the contract so Mountain Waste would not have access to the town’s utility billing system in order to advertise additional services.
Town staff will bill for trash collection service along with water utilities. The contract also will state that the town will list all organics collection businesses together on marketing documents, and not preference one over another.
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