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

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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.
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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

.
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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.
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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.

doppleganger

The bins near Cedar Point are not supposed to be costing anything. Read this article from April 2014:

City revamps recycling operations
Two sites feature smaller bins
Andy Ouriel
Sandusky
Apr 25, 2014
Smaller bins equal bigger savings and a better deal for Sandusky’s revamped recycling operation.

Clyde-based FSI Disposal president Duke Fultz and city commissioners recently came to terms on a five-year deal, calling for his hauling company to oversee recycling operations at First Street near Cedar Point and Marquette Street by Lions Park until 2019.

Here’s a quick guide on the city’s new recycling arrangements:

Q: Can I still go to either recycling site? Will it cost me anything to get rid of plastic and paper products?

A: Both recycling sites remain open and never closed. There’s no charge to properly dispose of recycled materials.

The rest of the article can be read here:
http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

IrishEyes

Look how that arrangement worked out.

From Sandusky Register article on 08/13/2014:
CITY: FSI TO BLAME FOR TRASHY DUMPS
Hauler that contracted with the city falling short on scheduled pickups

"FSI Disposal management, according to city officials, have failed to fulfill a contract, calling for haulers to clear both recycling centers at least three times a week."

This deal was supposed to save taxpayers about $65,000.

Apparently FSI is treating their contract with the city the same way they do with their residential customers...grab the money and then good luck getting the service you paid for. This could happen to us if we were forced into a one-hauler system.

JT Adams St

Grab what money? They're hauling the stuff for free. How could a county recycling program save money when the current program is free? As far as the cleanliness of the recycling centers, the westside center has been clean since the second week it opened, once FSI adjusted its pickup schedule. I don't know what goes on over by the Chaussee. (Parents providing whiskey and strippers for recycling parties?) Regardless, I would be very suspicious of a county program that was cheaper than free.

he said she said

I use Republic and pay less than $60 every three months for trash and recycling. I have more recycling than I do trash which might be two bags on a good month! My neighbor uses Ruffins and pays almost $70 a three month period for strictly trash pick up.

I'm all for the using the local business but when you can get two services for a less price, moneywise, I would keep Republic.

sugar

Good, maybe that works for you, but for your neighbor Ruffin works for him, it's a choice each individual chooses the option they think is best. It's called: freedom, liberty.

knowitall

And when all the other haulers age gone or out of business, then watch the prices. One BIG hauler a while ago was known for that. Undercut the little guy, get the business, then raise the prices. Capitalism at its worst.

IrishEyes

Ruffin Refuse charges me $63.00 for three months.

doppleganger

And this from same article:

Q: Are city officials still considering a one-hauler system?

A: Not at this time.

Several hauling companies pick up trash throughout Sandusky.

When city commissioners discussed the idea earlier this year, local haulers and city residents lashed out against an Erie County spurred plan calling for only one hauler to pick up trash, recyclables and other materials in Sandusky. They feared a one-hauler system would put everyone else out of business. Some city commissioners also opposed the plan.

SamAdams

Once again, the government puts its big nose right where it doesn't belong. Once again, thanks to the government, people stand to lose their jobs. Once again, government officials think they know what's best for you better than YOU know what's best for you.

If we go to a single hauler system, it might be cheaper at first. But what do you do if you get bad service? Switch providers? And what do you do when the rates go way, way up (and in the absence of competition, they will)? Switch providers? What do you do when you lose your job with the trash hauler that DOESN'T get the contract? Go to work for one of the others? What happens when the contract comes up for bid again and everybody qualified to bid has been put out of business because they didn't get the FIRST contract?

Get a clue, guys: Government DOESN'T CARE ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL. In fact, it cares little about anything but its own growth which is why it keeps poking its head into places it doesn't belong. I saw a cartoon years ago the caption of which read, "The fastest growing government agency." The picture was of a building with a big sign in front that said, "The Department of Justifying Our Existence."

Attention Erie County, City of Sandusky, etc.: LEAVE. US. ALONE!

sugar

BRAVO! BRAVO!

The Big Dog's back

Gov. Big Gov. Government. Is that all you got? You blame all of your problems on Gov. Pretty sad.

sugar

Who's proposal is this you complete and utter nincompoop?

The Big Dog's back

Countries with little or no Gov:

Western Sahara, Antarctica, Somalia, Belgium, Nutbush Tennessee.

http://www.businesspundit.com/wh...

SamAdams

All of my problems? Nope. MANY problems? Yup.

I realize fiscal responsibility is a foreign concept to somebody like you who believes all should be equally poor, but we wouldn't keep seeing levies and tax increases if government wasn't going broke; and government wouldn't be going broke if it would stop doing all of the things it's not supposed to do and take care of only those things it IS!

Donegan

You seem to think Big government is the answer to all your prayers, Maybe it is at fault more than anything else because you morons want it to be part of every aspect of your life. The more it is involved the worse things are. See how this works? Nah your just a useful idiot that only knows what the party leaders want you to know.

Darkhorse

Is Sandusky allowing the bins to be trashed so they have a better case to go to curbside? Why doesn't the commission listen to the people for a change? I am tired of being mandated by the government and not having a choice. It is unforgivealbe for the city to participate in the curbside program RFP and not tell the public about it. Pretty sneaky. Was he city going to wait until January to announce we were all on the curbside program without telling us before hand? Sandusky has to stop operating behind closed doors. The whole thing has been deceptive right from the start and I have to wonder what else is being cooked up behind closed doors.

doppleganger

Plus the fact that the city just spent $25,000 for new bins in the agreement with Fultz. (See my link above to the article.) Clearly money is no concern of our city commission.

Darkhorse

Haulers do not bid on this and the whole things goes away. No bids, no program. The county will have to come up with some other plan. The whole thing is about the county bins they just got rid of and getting more trash for their costly land fill.

The Big Dog's back

They need to look at Bowling Green's drop off recycling. Works great! Nice and neat and orderly, and it is indoors with the exception of the steel dumpster.

samiam

Re-Post
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.

sugar

The people who care ate working at 9:30 Thursday morning, those who aren't or retired should go. A lot of us sent an appeal to the county commissioners not to raise taxes and we were td tough sh** and they did what they wanted.

tk

The people have made their opinions known but the county doesn't seem to care what we want. We dropped Republic because they were getting to expensive for us. Everytime we got a bill from them they had raised their fees. We went with Cyclone. Good service, much cheaper.

fredinperkins

Who is representing these communities? The trustees, commissioners or board members without a vote from the residents? Please provide the cost savings by closing down the existing recycling facilities. Would there possibly be another tax levy proposal on the ballot to fund anything other than a single hauler system? The affordable care act (one hauler system)was supposed to decrease costs. What is the status of that system? Perhaps Erie County should put the landfill up for sale. Or is it your cash cow?

ram03

Apparently this city won't take no for an answer. But at least buy us dinner before you screw us!

concernedtruth

This is illegal, you cannot force anyone to choose one provider, can you say monopoly!!

Darkhorse

Start calling your elected officials to tell them how you feel.

Rosa

Yes, competition is the key. Let's not shut that down. Maybe if we had more cable companies, Buckeye could not rip us off so much!

MrGadfly

Every time Lisa Beursken has an idea, it cost me more money. Let people decide the extent they wish to participate in refuse and recycling. I don't need any more of your mandates.