The town of Garland is moving toward a change in commercial solid waste service in an effort to extend a twice-a-week collection not offered under the current provider.
Garland is currently in the midst of a five-year contract with Waste Management for its residential service, however there is no such agreement for commercial collection, which has also been offered by Waste Management but without contract. On Tuesday, the Garland Board of Commissioners approved moving toward a three-year contract for commercial solid waste with Onslow Container Service (OCS).
In the past, the town has paid for the commercial billing, as well as a rental fee for containers, a service charge and a fuel surcharge. Additionally, the town also paid Waste Industries based on what was picked up and taken to the Sampson County Landfill, town clerk Jennifer Gray said.
“We have now requested quotes from different waste vendors, OCS has been one of them, Waste Industries the other. And we are currently with Waste Management,” Gray said. “Being that we are not under contract with Waste Management for our commercial piece, we have actually requested quotes from OCS and Waste Industries to see who would provide us with the better price.”
There would be no additional fuel surcharge with OCS or Waste Industries, Gray said. Dumping fees would also be included in the regular service rates. Representatives from both companies additionally expressed their willingness to enter into a three-year contract with the town instead of the five-year one proposed by Waste Management, Gray said.
“You can see for yourself where the savings would be if we were to actually go with a different waste provider,” said Gray. The most recent numbers, including the proposed cost by Waste Management, were not immediately available, but were presented to commissioners during a work session last week. However, the board has looked at the contract for a greater portion of the past year, as it has other contracts, in an effort to cut costs.
With the town tied into the residential contract, Gray said, it ventured out to find commercial options. The twice weekly collection is needed for at least two local businesses.
For OCS, the cost to collect would be $106 for one 8-yard container once a week. It would be $193 for twice a week. For Waste Industries, the cost would be $112 for one 8-yard container once a week. Twice a week collection would be $202. Those who only need once a week collection can choose that service.
“I really think OCS is probably the way to go,” said Commissioner Ralph Smith.
Since the beginning of this year, the Garland board has discussed ways to save money and cut costs, especially in regard to the services it provides. The town was forced to raise its trash collection rates earlier this year when it found that the service generated only $65,000 but cost $101,000 annually. Additionally, Waste Management informed Garland officials it would be charging the town an additional 3 percent to cover its own costs.
“We do not have a commercial contract with Waste Management, it is residential only,” said Mayor Winifred Murphy. “We are not breaking our contract with commercial. At the present time with Waste Management, they will only give us one day per week pick-up. I know Family Dollar has requested twice per week. Our new Han-Dee Hugo’s needs twice a week as well, but Waste Management has told us they can only do one (pick-up).”
Gray echoed that, saying the town had options on the table with OCS or Waste Industries to offer twice a week service for the two businesses that need it. Smith noted that Han-Dee Hugo’s already established a solid waste provider.
“They have, with Waste Industries, but we have spoken with (owner John Clark),” said Gray, “and explained to him that it goes through the town as far as billing. So we’re waiting to find out about the commercial piece before we go any further on that with him, due to their needs for having twice a week pick-up. If we remain with Waste Management, it would have to be brought before the board to make an exception for him, because of his need. He only has one 8-yard container that would stay full all the time over the week.”
Jennifer Rackley, an OCS representative, was present at the meeting. Smith inquired as to when the best transition could be made.
“We are available immediately,” said Rackley. “If you wanted containers delivered tomorrow I could have it done. I could have contracts emailed, faxed for the commercial side. We can provide any service level, as your needs change, whether it be once a week or five times a week.”
Those contracts would be written so that a fixed rate is offered for three years, with no fuel surcharge.
“On the residential side occasionally we might have a fuel service charge, if gas goes to an extreme,” Rackley said, “The commercial side is straight fixed.”
Waste Management currently picks up in Garland on Mondays. Rackley said OCS was flexible as to what particular days it would collect. She said the advantage of having a commercial contract, and one service provider, were many.
“One advantage of having a contract, and not being open, you have one truck in your town,” said Rackley. “I’ve seen towns go open before, and it’s a nightmare. You might have three different haulers and you have trash trucks in your town every day at different times. It’s not a good route to go. Keeping it contracted does keep it with you in control and no wear and tear with all different trash companies in your town that you can’t control.”
Commissioner Matthew Register asked if there was a way to void the contract should the town not be satisfied a year or so down the line, an issue with which it is currently having difficulty on the residential side. Rackley said there would be a 30-day “automatic out” if service issues are noted. Rackley said those service issues, however, are tended to quickly.
“If you are having any issues, we can take care of it right then (at collection),” she said. “With a lot of companies it’s like, ‘well, it’s three days before we’re back in your area.’ We don’t do that. We take care of it the same day we’re here. Or if you do have an emergency, we can take care of it the next day.”
Smith inquired about starting with OCS by the first of the year, which he said would allow the town to give notice to the current provider and time to review and sign contracts with OCS. He made a motion to move forward with a commercial contract with OCS, seconded by Commissioner Matthew Register. The vote was unanimous.
“We will move forward and commissioners, we will let you know when that contract is ready for your review,” said Murphy.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.