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Richfield City Council Postpones Decision on Implementing City-Wide Garbage Collection System

After a second lengthy discussion, the Richfield City Council decides to hold-off on going to a single-hauler system.

Representatives of four area garbage collection companies made a push for the city to not “get into the garbage business” Monday night and succeeded, for now.

Currently, the is considering going through the legalities to be able to bid out collection of all the city’s trash to one hauler, in hopes of reducing costs for residents and promoting sustainability of roads and the environment.

However, haulers made many arguments against doing so.

“We are in favor of keeping the system the way it is,” said Bob Elliott, of Aspen Waste Systems and also a Richfield resident. “[The current system] gives everyone a chance to grow and keeps prices being competitive.”

Elliott added that school buses, which can travel up and down the roads up multiple times a day, and delivery couriers also contribute to the road wear and tear.

Mark Stolpman, general manager for Randy’s Environmental Services, echoed Elliott’s feelings toward city-run collection and also expanded on Elliott’s point about road wear and tear. According to Stolpman, garbage trucks are constructed and the wheels are weighted to be balanced and to not place uneven weight. In addition, weather conditions are also largely responsible for road wear and tear.

“Heat, sun, freeze, thaw,” he said. “The environment does a lot of damage.”

Stolpman also went further by saying a small decision like garbage collection doesn’t need to take up the city’s time.

“You have a lot of important decisions to make,” he said. “Who your hauler is, [just like] who your barber is, who your pharmacist is … citizens don’t want you making those decisions.”

According to , there are six garbage haulers that are currently licensed to operate in Richfield. Quite obviously, going with just one collector would cause a loss of business for a handful of companies.

However, with the six current haulers and with residents able to chose their service, three trucks—compost, trash and recycling—could be traveling down every street on every pick-up day.

asked haulers for their ideas on another way to reach the city’s objectives without changing the current system, however no substantial ideas were brought to the forefront.

Currently the City of Maplewood is implementing a single-hauler system. With this knowledge, the council decided it would watch Maplewood’s experiences and also gather more information on the environmental impacts of garbage hauling. Stolpman will be part of a committee studying the environmental impacts and will likely share information with the council when it becomes available.

Dennis Gillespie July 27, 2011 at 05:17 PM
This is all we need is Government to stick its nose into something that works just fine without it. My philosphy is if it is not broken don't fix it. Government philosphy seems to be if it is working, fix it until it breaks. How about we look closely at where the city can save money.
Brad Dimond July 27, 2011 at 06:58 PM
City objectives called out in the article are: Reduce costs to residents by negotiating a single contract • Has this ever resulted in lowest cost for value received? Cable TV and Internet access abundantly demonstrate that competition is the vehicle for driving down consumer costs and improving service. Promote sustainability of roads and the environment • What road wear is attributable to garbage hauling as opposed to commercial vehicles (including courier services and freight services), residential traffic, city vehicles, weather and snow plowing? What portion of the garbage hauling road wear would be avoided by switching to a single hauler? Dividing by 6 doesn’t work –the same amount of garbage must be hauled and a similar number of site visits will need to be performed by the haulers. Data analysis provides the foundation for the conversation, not speculation. Garbage haulers responsible for a disproportionate amount of road wear can be addressed by allocating the additional costs via a license fee surcharge. The city is made whole, haulers include fully burdened costs in their business analysis and consumers reap the benefits of a competitive market place. Personally, I do not elect Council members to make consumer decisions on my behalf. By the way, I do bear my share of the costs associated with road wear in the city through property taxes, gasoline taxes, income taxes and the like.
David Haines July 27, 2011 at 08:49 PM
I, for one, do not want the city to decide what company gets to pick up my garbage. . I currently have trash haulers competing for my business by offering top notch service at competitive prices. Isn't that a good thing? If one company gets 'the contract', you can guarantee that their motivation to offer suburb customer service will go down. My current hauler picks up paper off my yard that falls out of the can, they take reasonably over-sized objects that won't fit in the can, and they line up my cans at the end of my driveway. I know I get superior service and pricing currently because if my hauler doesn't cut the mustard, they know I will move my business to a hauler that will. Also, it seems goal of this is to lessen the environmental impact, but have no data on the actual environmental impact? This stinks of a solution in search of a problem. What about incentives for upgrading to more fuel efficient trucks or for using bio-diesel in the warmer months when trucks are able?
Greg Mangold July 30, 2011 at 06:23 PM
Selecting one-hauler through a competitive bidding process does not mean that the collection of garbage becomes a city operation. The selected hauler would perform this function. Why is it not a good idea for the city to at least study options that could reduce collection costs for its citizens and the city's annual road maintenance budget; extend the life of roads; protect the environment and increase public safety?
Dennis Gillespie July 30, 2011 at 10:38 PM
Greg Government does not have a good reputation for improving anything, particularily something that is currently working fine
Bill Johnson December 27, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Richfield needs to implement a single garbage collector system. Richfield has the most screwed up garbage collection system of any town I have lived in. Why should we subsidize these businesses and not others? The current system is wasteful and disruptive with garbage trucks running all day on collection day. Council needs to take action to implement single hauler. Who needs choice for a collector? They are all the same. I would rather have peace and quiet and reduced tax spending on road repair. RESIDENTS...THE COST WITH SINGLE HAULER TO HAVE YOUR GARBAGE COLLECTED WILL BE THE SAME OR LOWER. It's a no brainer!
Dennis Gillespie December 27, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Bill, I agree in principle, rates should be lower and it does make sense to have one provider. BUT this means government intervention, letting of contracts, new rules, under the table payments to city officicals, monopoly and no where to turn except to your representative and they can't do anything. We don't need more Government, we need to work on having less. Bill our screwed up systme seems pretty simple to me, you have a choice of who you want to provide the services you need. They are not all the same. And how is it were are subsidizing them????
Greg Mangold December 27, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Dennis: Government Intervention - The "government" years ago intervened in the liquid waste removal system when it developed city and metro sewer systems. Should everyone have stayed with their own septic system? Letting of contracts, new rules, under the table payments - Contracts and new rules are not in and of themselves an indicator of something bad. The spectre of government involvement has not deterred the cities of St. Louis Park, Maplewood and most recently Sauk Rapids from organizing their collection of solid waste. There is an opportunity through contract that we could have "curb-day" where once a year citizens can bring their junk to the curb for pick-up. This is a very popular program in Bloomington.
Bill Johnson December 27, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Smaller players are lobbying against the single collector system because they say they will go out of business. The government is efficient. Look at how well the liquor store are run. Government just needs to be accountable. Minneapolis has an efficient waste collection system at the same or lower cost. Dennis, How are the service any different from different haulers? All I see is dozens of trucks coming by, making a on of noise, unnecessarily endangering children's safety, tearing up the roads doing the exact some thing. There is no differentiation between haulers and they all are within a few dollars a month in cost.
Dennis Gillespie December 27, 2012 at 05:13 PM
It would have been nice if they had stuck to that job, now they are a third wing of government, un-elected, they are into mass transit planning, community planning and I am not certain what all.. This is another reason States like South Dakota and Texas are looking more and more apealing.
Tony Zimmerman December 27, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I'd be all for this regardless of cost. I don't need 5 different garbage trucks - Aspen, Allied, Waste Management, Bert's, and Randy's rumbling through my back alley every Friday and 10 every other Friday at 6:30 am.
Greg Mangold December 27, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Dennis, We will have to agree to disagree on the role of government. Since you mentioned Texas as being appealing, I just checked on-line and noticed that the city of Dallas picks up its garbage by using city employees. (The city of St. Cloud does this, too.) I am not suggesting this for Richfield. I am suggesting that city send out a request for proposals to the private sector and then select the best bid. For those of you, who like this approach, I recommend that you contact the city council. Contact information for the council is available on the city of Richfield web-site.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 02, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Hi all, here's the latest on this issue. Looks like the League of Women Voters is looking into it. A new discussion has started as well. http://patch.com/A-0KlS
Brian Lindemann January 04, 2013 at 04:44 PM
I live in St. Michael and I have sent request to our city stating that we need to go to a single hauler as well, but have the request has never been responded to. We have 4-5 garbage trucks tearing up the streets every week. Asking the business leaders that would potentially be impacted for advice or opinion on the matter is a pointless conversation - what did the patch or the city expect to hear from them?? Everyone of those companies would bid against each other in a heartbeat on an RFP that gave them 100% of the business for 3 years. My understanding of the city of Mpls garbage removal is a mix of City employees / equipment and routes that the city bids out to contractors but it eliminates multiple trucks on the same roads saving the roads that we as tax payers pay for... Single garbage haulers should be mandated in every city and it is the responsibility of government leaders to know this without being asked or told...

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