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Kimball shares solid waste committee findings

Published: Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 3:11 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 3:13 p.m. CDT

The possibility of the city of Osceola getting into the garbage business looks like it can be thrown into the trash.

Dr. Jim Kimball, the head of the solid waste committee for Osceola City Council, presented the committee's findings during Tuesday's city-council meeting.

"We met and tried to put some figures together for you so we have some idea of what some things cost, what things don't cost," Kimball said.

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

A solid waste committee headed by Kimball was formed to present a cost and benefit analysis for a waste, recycling, compost or transfer station for the city.

The city currently has a contract with Waste Management until September 2013.

With the analysis, Kimball said the committee had two main issues — pick up of residential trash and a composting and transfer station.

During the meeting, Kimball didn't give his support to the transfer station.

As for trash pick up, if the city wanted to start picking up residential trash, at the present time, there are 1,600 stops.

With $15 per stop per month, that cost would be $288,000

With tippage at Madison County at $24 per ton at a rate of 120 tons per month, the cost would be $32,000 for the year.

If the city buys new trucks and totes, it would cost approximately $760,000 to buy equipment.

Fuel and maintenance annually would each cost $30,000. Employees would cost $70,000.

Kimball did five-year and 10-year scenarios for the city.

"If you try to pay for the trucks in a five-year period, it comes out to … $312,000 for five years," he said. "So, that loses you $24,000 a year. If you go 10 years, you make $50,000 a year."

According to Kimball, one of his main considerations was the issue of needing lighter trucks on the streets.

Kimball said he talked with Bryan Neppl of Waste Management. He said Neppl told him Waste Management will start incorporating natural gas to power their trucks in Des Moines.

"When they do that, there will be some trucks that are side-load type trucks," Kimball said, "and because of some desire to get Murray into their company, as well, and needing smaller trucks, they thought that that might a good idea for both of us when that comes to pass."

Kimball said the difference is only 40 tons for a current truck and 36 tons for the side-load trucks.

The side-load trucks have less weight on the front axle.

Questionnaires were sent out throughout town for commercial pick up information. The findings showed people are paying somewhere in a range of $80 to $1,200 a month.

Kimball said one option is people could call Waste Management to try to negotiate a lower fee for commercial pick up.

After explaining the committee's findings, Kimball addressed the council directly.

"I would strongly suggest that if you have a contract with somebody like this that is almost $300,000 a year, that it ought to be out to contract," he said. "It ought to be out to bid."

Councilman Glenn Schaff asked about worker's compensation if the city gets into the garbage business.

Kimball said injuries typically occur when there is a truck that is being loaded from the back and requires two employees. In this scenario, it is the in-load truck where the tote is picked up, thrown into the back and put back to its original place.

"It's guys on ice. They slip. They fall. They're picking up things," Kimball said. "With the side-load truck, we won't have that problem."

Schaff asked Kimball if the city should get into the garbage business.

"I'm just giving you the numbers, Glenn. I would probably tell you no, not to get into the garbage business," Kimball said. "My reasons would be, it looks like it would take you about seven years just to break even."

He added, if Waste Management's rates go up, city officials should read the contracts.

"Their contracts are long, and they're made for their advantage," Kimball said.

The best advice would be to sit down, talk and negotiate or put it out to bid, Kimball said.

At the end of the city-council meeting, Councilman David Walkup said, "When we had our work session, the guy that was here wasn't negotiating on it. He heard that's what we wanted. These are the same things we wanted. He went back to his people, they came back and said, 'Here's a contract.' That's not negotiations. That's throwing it right down you're throat. … If we're going to negotiate … I want his boss here so we can talk to him."

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