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City council still debating five-year Waste Management contract

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 12:06 p.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 1)

Osceola City Council decided during an Oct. 16 council meeting to continue to see what the committee on waste-management alternatives can bring forth in less than 90 days.

The committee, which is headed by Jim Kimball, was formed during an Oct. 2 council meeting to present a cost and benefit analysis for a waste, recycling, compost or transfer station for the city in 90 days.

During the Oct. 2 meeting, the council denied entering into a five-year contract with Waste Management that incorporates single-stream recycling.

Still an option?

Osceola City Administrater/Clerk Ty Wheeler said Waste Management hasn't informed him if the option for a five-year contract extension with single-stream recycling is gone.

"I think we need to have this contract for five more years so we know exactly what we're getting into and what exactly it's going to cost our constituents," said Councilman Glenn Schaff. "Not just jump on this bandwagon and say, 'Yes, here's a blank check.' I want to see what the figures are going to be."

Mayor Fred Diehl said any new options from the committee weren't going to be acted upon in 90 days, and the city has a current contract with Waste Management until September 2013.

Councilman Dr. George Fotiadis said he agreed with Schaff, and has concerns with building something from the ground up with not a lot of information yet.

"I just felt like we put a lot of pressure on the committee for a short period of time," Fotiadis said. "I did that deliberately because my concern is, do we understand it if we do our own collection? There's a significant start-up cost. We must budget it in the payroll. We have a lot of management. We have to set up an administrative infrastructure. We do not have a public-works director, which we have talked about, which further complicates the picture."

Fotiadis said families adopt to single-stream recycling well, and the city of Osceola has been only minimally effective with using curb-side recycling.

Issues

Dwaine May, a member of the committee, said one of the biggest concerns at the first committee meeting was the city's businesses have pricing issues with Waste Management.

The committee has sent out a survey to the city's businesses.

The city's contract with Waste Management is only for residential services.

Another concern was the weight of Waste Management trucks on city streets.

"We're trying to get figures and numbers for you as soon as we can," May said.

One idea brought forth during the city-council meeting was to enter into a contract with Waste Management for less than five years.

Wheeler said the minimum amount of time for a contract is five years, which would be tacked onto the 2013 expiration date.

Need for progress

"I feel like, in the meantime, we're wasting time," said Council member Sarah Truitt. "I'm anxious to get to where we're recycling, you know, all the time, and I agree with Dr. Fotiadis. But, I don't think it will take five years if we did come up with something that was feasible, or that we could afford. I don't think it would take five, six years to do that, but, in the meantime, I feel like we're not doing anything, and I wish we were taking action of some kind. I know in 90 days we'll have more information, maybe. But, I don't know, I'm uncomfortable with keeping things the same way as they are now."

Schaff said he believes the council should take action on the five-year contract with Waste Management, which gives the committee all the time they need to determine if something else is feasible.

At the end of the meeting, the council decided to take no action on entering into a five-year contract with Waste Management, and give the committee the courtesy of 90 days to get more information.

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