Chesterton Tribune

Council awards bid to Able; garbage rate likely to spike in 2009

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Refuse and recycling service in the Town of Chesterton will not change for the next three years.

Except for one thing: that service will, in all likelihood, cost residents significantly more.

At its meeting Monday night, the Town Council voted 5-0 to award the next three-year contract for trash collection to Able Disposal of Chesterton.

That contract will be for the current “basic service”: residents provide their own container or rent a  95-gallon roll-away from Able, while the town provides the 18-gallon recycling containers.

Able’s bid: in 2009, $13.95 per household per month; in 2010, $14.72; in 2011, $15.53. Average price over the length of the contract: $14.73.

Put that number in context: the average price over the length of the current contract is $10.05, the town is right now paying Able $10.36 per household per month, and residents are paying $10.50 per month to the town for refuse and recycling service.

The all-important question: what rate for that service will residents begin to pay in 2009? It’s unclear at this point, but Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann put the council on notice that it must be prepared at its next meeting, Nov. 10, to set a public hearing on the new rate—whatever it will be—before year’s end. Lukmann noted that it may be necessary to include in that rate a provision for fuel surcharges.

The only other bidder, Waste Management of Portage, submitted a bid for basic service whose average price over the lifetime of the contract was $15.97 or $1.24 more than Able’s average price: in 2009, $15.20 per household per month; in 2010, $15.96; in 2011, $16.76.

Able and Waste Management also submitted two alternative bids. The first: each household would receive a 95-gallon roll-away for trash and a second for recycling, and recycling collection would be cut to twice a month. Able’s average price: $16.96. Waste Management’s: $16.81.

The second alternative bid: each household would provide its own trash cans but would receive a 95-gallon roll-away, and again recycling collection would be cut to twice a month. Able’s average price: $14.66. Waste Management’s: $14.65.

Waste Management did attach some conditions to its bids. For one thing, its crews will not collect any appliances from which the Freon has not been removed and a certificate of removal attached to the appliance. Able, on the other hand, can remove the Freon from those appliances and collect them for a charge of $75 per unit, billed directly to the resident.

For another thing, Waste Management will not collect the following items: windows, glass doors, steel, concrete, dirt, bricks, iron, and cast iron tubs. Able, in contrast, did not provide a list of any items which it will not collect.

The council opted not to go with either alternate bid given, as Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd, observed, “the current economic times.” Particularly with a sanitary sewer rate hike on next year’s horizon, “it’s not the time for our citizens to pay any more than they absolutely have to,” he said.


Posted 10/28/2008