By Kevin Kelley
Collaboration among Westshore cities has been discussed, and, in the case of the Westshore Dispatch Center, implemented in recent years.
But the latest collaborative effort in the field of trash collection on the part of Fairview Park involves a partnership with Parma Heights.
A proposal by the administration of Fairview Park Mayor Eileen Patton has the city entering a trash collection contract with Republic Services according to terms already negotiated by Parma Heights.
Why Parma Heights?
According to Dave Kidder, a services manager with Republic, the two suburbs are similar in size, population, demographics and residential lot sizes.
Good timing was also a factor. Late last year, Republic made a contract proposal to Parma Heights, which was accepted. From ongoing discussions with Fairview Park Service Director Jim Kennedy, Kidder knew that city would be looking to seek bids for trash collection this year.
So Republic offered the same contract to Fairview Park.
“It just worked between these two cities,” Kidder told Fairview Park City Council members at a committee meeting Monday night.
The contract, which still needs to be approved by Fairview Park City Council, will bring automated trash collection to Fairview Park.
Mayor Eileen Patton said the proposal allows the city to achieve three goals it set in addressing its trash collection needs – a reduction of costs, collaboration with another city and better services for residents.
The contract with Republic calls for automated collection of both trash and recyclable materials; separate pickup of yard waste, which will be recycled; and a monthly bulk pickup of large items. Republic will provide the bins to residents at no cost under the proposal.
Automated pickup involves all residents using similarly designed trash and recycling bins, whose contents can be mechanically dumped into a garbage truck operated by a single worker.
Kidder said Republic’s goal is to make all collections throughout the city in a single day of the week.
Under the terms of the proposed contract, the city’s cost of waste collection is expected to drop from the current figure of $14.40 per household to $11.84 per month per household.
“That pretty significant,” Kennedy said of the cost decrease.
That lower rate is based, in part, on expectations of increased recycling by the city’s residents. More recycling means a reduction in the amount of trash that would have been sent to the landfill. Studies indicate that the introduction of automated collection more than doubles the amount of recycling by households, Kennedy said, because residents no longer have to sort recyclable materials.
The “tipping fee,” or cost to dump trash into a landfill, will also drop in the proposed contract, from $36 per ton to $32 per ton.
Two Service Department employees who current collect residents’ recyclable materials will be reassigned to other duties, city officials said.
“Our intent is not to lay off anyone in going forward with the program,” Patton said.
The proposal also saves the city from having to replace its aging recyclable collection trucks, Kennedy said. Collection trucks cost several hundred thousand dollars each.
The proposed contract is for five years, with slight cost increase each year. Both parties have options to extend the contract an additional five years on a year-to-year basis.
Last year, Fairview Park made arrangements to end its separate existing collection contracts with Republic on June 30. The plan is to begin the automated collection in July, Kidder said.
Fairview Park residents pay a $10 monthly trash collection fee. Legislation authorizing the fee expires at the end of 2013. Patton has said she does not want the fee, introduced during a budgetary emergency, to become permanent.