Countywide recycling revisited

Erie County asking area cities, townships, villages to join one-hauler system
Andy Ouriel
Aug 17, 2014

ouriel@sanduskyregister.com

Despite facing repeated blowback from area haulers and their dedicated customers, Erie County officials continue to explore a system in which only one company would collect area trash and recycling.

Through Register reporting and answers provided by Lisa Beursken, Erie County’s solid waste district coordinator, here’s the dirt on the proposed trash and recycling program:

Q: What’s the latest news with trash and recycling operations?

A: Members of the Erie County solid waste district are trying to entice as many elected officials representing local communities — cities, townships and villages — as they can to ideally team up and search the marketplace as one large customer in hopes of receiving the best trash and recycling services for a reasonable rate.

The more governments participating in this plan, officials contend, the lower rate each resident can then achieve for trash and recycling services.

Residents today pay all different trash rates. The average Erie County resident pays $66 per quarter for just trash removal. Officials believe this plan could enable residents to pay $35 per quarter for trash, curbside recycling and more.

“By combining trash and providing recycling at the curb, we can lower current trash bills and increase services to Erie County residents,” Beursken said.

No community’s locked into the plan at this time, and no deal is imminent.

Q: What communities are in thus far?

A: The communities with verbal agreements to join in the consortium and figure out what prices are possible include:

• Cities: Sandusky.

• Townships: Florence, Groton, Huron, Oxford, Perkins and Vermilion.

• Villages: Bay View, Berlin Heights, Castalia and Milan.

Communities already implementing a one-hauler system, such as Huron, would be exempt from the county’s proposed one-hauler system. But these communities, such as Huron, still have an opportunity to opt into a county deal.

Q: What’s a rough timeline of this proposed deal?

A: Beursken provided the following tentative dates:

• Now through end of August: Representatives from these governments must fill out and submit a survey based on their particular community’s hauling needs. Lawyers in the Erie County prosecutor’s office will then review these documents.

• Early September: Plan goes out to bid.

• Early October: Bids, with prices and services offered, come back from ideally multiple hauling companies.

• Late October: A final decision must occur whether or not these communities collectively accept a one-hauler system.

• Late December: If the communities collectively pursue a countywide one-hauler system, then they must sign a contract for an unspecified amount of time.

• January: The plan’s then implemented.

Q: When could this program start?

A: At the earliest, January 2015, however, a lot — including approval from elected officials of many different communities — would first need to occur before a deal happens.

Q: Are there any other reasons why Erie County officials are pursuing this plan?

A: Beursken rattled off several other reasons, such as providing more waste services in rural areas and Erie County meeting an unfunded Ohio EPA mandate. In short, Erie County must give people more opportunities to recycle. The district's goal is to have at least half of Erie County's population participating in a curbside recycling program by 2015.

If approved, all public recycling centers — including ones maintained by Sandusky near Cedar Point and Lions Park — would likely cease to exist, since they're considered inefficient and too costly.

If countywide recycling doesn’t happen under these circumstances, then Erie County officials must brainstorm another way to satisfy this state requirement in providing more trash- and recycling-related services to residents at ideally a low cost.

Q: If the plan saves money, then why would people seem against it?

A: Simply put: Some area officials and many local residents across Erie County argue this plan would put many smaller haulers out of business.

“You are going to lose jobs,” city resident Herman Robinson said when Beursken first talked about the plan earlier this year. “The quality of service and competition will suffer. I can’t think of a single industry where there is a monopoly with good quality of service. There could be 50 to 100 jobs at stake, and we need to consider that.”

Said FSI Disposal president Duke Fultz: “I’m all for bidding out a particular city or village. But if you bid out the county, in my belief, you would shut out all the rest of the haulers from having another chance from coming back to bid. I don’t have a problem with competition, but when you open the door and bid out the entire county, you take out competition.”

Comments

yea right

Can we say monopoly.

knowitall

I agree.

whattheBucks

Isn't it odd that the monopoly game is only made by one company ?

Licorice Schtick

Demand an investigation!

IT'S ME

No thanks, I like my current trash hauler. I don't need government telling me who I hire with MY MONEY!

knowitall

I agree.

tk

me too.

Señor Clown

FSI just raised our rate to 50% more than Cyclone, so you'd better believe we switched haulers. When the one-hauler system contract comes up for renewal and there aren't enough competitors able to offer curbside pickup, the former contract recipient will hold the strings on price increase negotiations. I see no way in which that could benefit anyone but one hauler.

knowitall

I agree.

samiam

The county is holding the 3rd of 3 public mtgs on Thurs morning at 9:30am in the county building by the fairgrounds to discuss "proposed amendments to the rates, charges and rules for the disposal of garbage and refuse by and within the Erie County Solid Waste Management District." So be prepared for you trash hauling bills to go up, no matter who your hauler is, even if that hauler is you!

We never hear of any government agency getting smaller. They always grow and grow and grow until they are an uncontrollable monster.

Hopefully someone from the county will read these comments and provide a copy of them to the 3 county commissioners and other government officials.

SanduskyVoter

If you think this reporter isn't already in their back pocket, your a fool

sugar

Once again government oversteps it's boundaries . It is NOT governments job to pick winners and losers in business.
Stop being DICTATORS.
I'll burn my trash first, like we used to.

knowitall

I agree.

knowitall

I agree again. Hit save twice. :-)

doppleganger

How many times must we say NO? This has been brought up again and again, and the people don't want it! Monopoly!

knowitall

I agree.

bondgirlM

Leave us alone to pick our own refuse company and stop the monopoly now. None of the gov't. business who I want to haul my garbage away!!!

knowitall

I agree.

PTBarnumWouldBeProud

I'm VERY happy with the service that I get from the folks at Ruffin Refuse. Leave us the hell alone.

Not sure if you've been paying attention local officials, but there are more than a few of us who are becoming more and more disgusted by government "mandating" that we do specific things.

knowitall

I agree. Support local haulers.

IrishEyes

I, too, have Ruffin Refuse as my hauler. I'm VERY pleased with their reliable service and don't want to lose them.

I switched from FSI when I got tired of having to make numerous calls because they neglected to pick up my recycling. Every time I called, their personnel were rude and not helpful. What's more, I was forced to purchase "special" FSI bags for recyclables, even though they were the exact same bags I could get a lot cheaper at Drug Mart.

If there had been a one-hauler system in place, I wouldn't have been able to switch and would've had no choice but to continue to put up poor service.

totallyamazed

.
Lisa Beursken, Erie County’s solid waste district coordinator says:

"The more governments participating in this plan, officials contend, the lower rate each resident can then achieve for trash and recycling services."

I contend that the government not worry what I choose to pay for products or services. This is a free market society (right now at least) and if a customer wishes to pay x amount of dollars then so be it. If the price is too high, the customer can seek out a competitor at a better price.

I already have a mom, I don't need the government to be my mother.
.

Licorice Schtick

Waste disposal must be regulated. Would you prefer that people be allowed to toss their trash out in the street? You can't talk about free markets without acknowledging market failure. It happens. Markets fail in waste management due to cost externalities; in particular, we don't pay the cost of poor management - future generations do. Because markets are imperfect, sometimes a regulated monopoly or a government operation is more efficient than an unbridled marketplace, especially in the case of utilities. It would be absurd, for example, to have multiple electricity distribution systems in the same community, or no government-owned streets, only toll roads.

You think you like the current system because it's a "free market" but it's not, it's already highly regulated. And if you're satisfied, it's because you're uninformed - you're paying way too much. Having too many trash haulers on the same route is extremely inefficient and unsustainable, and eventually, you'll pay even more.

Licorice Schtick

.

totallyamazed

.
.
Waste disposal is not only regulated but also needs to be. Without waste disposal regulations, waste could and probably would be disposed of in locations which could cause (more) harm to residents.

There are a ton of federal regulations covering everything from disposal locations, operating criteria, disposal location design, environmental monitoring and others.

But, were not talking about disposal of trash and recyclables. The article is about who is going to pick up our trash.

Free market enterprise allows for competition. Those that can't or won't comply with the EPA regulations, provide good service, follow the local laws concerning proper pick-up practices, and keep the customer happy with a competitive rate {{drum roll}} go out of business.

Now, if government tells the residences that to save them money (as in this case), they will have to choose between two haulers for trash pick-up, competition is thrown right out the window. Service and cost MAY suffer.
.
.

ohioengineer

I once lived in an area that had just one county-wide carrier (Dade County, FL). It became a game to see if they would actually take more trash away than they left sitting by the curb. So I just changed carriers - no wait, I couldn't....

sugar

She has a dilemma, she is mandated to offer more recycling options, and recycling stations are expensive. Ahhhhhh , get rid of EPA over reach, stop giving yourself raises, call everyone who retired before 65 to return to work for the county, cut some of those perks. We the taxpayers, the people you're supposed to serve are tired of watching you live better than the rest of us. Now if you were earning it in a free market kind of way than so be it, but you're not you're DEMANDING more and more from us, we want you off our backs.

sab44870

Sugar, you are so very correct. This mandate started several years ago and its always deflected as a money saving determination. and she will continue to offer these same options until it is either passed or she moves on. Tired of these officials trying to justify their positions.

xtensionofme

Don't know ANYONE who wants this besides government officials - I sure don't!

pavedparadise

Simply put.

1). Loss of jobs.

2). Loss of choice of the individual to recycle on their own.

No thanks

3). Loss of competition and creation of a monopoly. Low prices may be guaranteed at the beginning, but we all know how that works.

I watched the City Commission meeting last Monday and the City Manager said he signed an MOU with the county not a verbal agreement. What gives Sandusky Register.

Pages