Although the process is lengthy, the idea of a countywide unified solid waste /recycling agreement has come yet another step closer to fruition.
The Logan County Fiscal Court, representing the unincorporated areas of the county, approved a first reading of an ordinance Tuesday, Oct. 23, to enter into an interlocal agreement with Auburn, Adairville, Lewisburg and Russellville for solid waste services (curbside trash pickup).
Adairville, Lewsburg and Russellville have all passed resolutions to enter into the agreement with the county, with Auburn bringing it to the table at the next scheduled meeting Nov. 12.
As soon as all parties agree to become one, the request has to be sent off to the state’s Attorney General’s Office for approval. According to county attorney Joe Ross, the Attorney General has 60 days to approve or deny the request.
“I do not foresee any problems with approving the interlocal agreement by the Attorney General’s Office, but this is not a process I have been through before. I tried to write it as clearly as I could and to meet all the requirements of the statutes,” said Ross.
When and if the Attorney General’s Office approves the agreement, a committee will come together made up of all four mayors and the judge/executive for the purposes of setting up a bid that will be sent out for countywide garbage pickup services which will include curbside co-mingling recycling.
“The way I envisioned it would be the individuals cities going through the same process they have gone through but it would become one body,” said Ross.
Each mayor and the judge/executive will be able to put in the bid agreement what would be best for the areas they represent. The committee will allow each city and the county to have their own input on what services are bid out.
The motivation behind the unified solid waste agreement is to create a more competitive rate for all the services for everyone. Another reason, maybe the more publicised one, is to offer curbside co-mingling recycling at no additional cost.
“By allowing one company to service all the cities and unincorporated areas of the county, this would open up a better rate than if bid out separately,” said Ross. Currently Scott Waste Services holds contracts with the city of Russellville and then the county together with Auburn, Adairville and Lewisburg.
If Scott is awarded a future unified bid, they will have to put up money out to offer the recycling which they have agreed to do at no additional cost if they could have a commitment to be in this area for awhile. Ultimately, however, that is no guarantee, as the bid will be put out to everyone. It is presumable that Scott will get the bid.
Conservatively speaking, Ross said it could be somewhere between January and March of 2013 before the process is complete. It will be dependent upon how quick the Attorney General’s Office responds to the interlocal agreement request and how long it takes for the committee to get together and construct a bid to be put out.
Scott began working with the county last year on a recycling pilot program that offered curbside co-mingling recycling to just under customers mostly in magistrate Thomas Bouldin’s district. According to Bouldin the program works and the people really seem to like it. Co-mingling means you can throw all recyclables into one container and don’t have to separate them out.
The pilot called for a separate 96 gallon container, called a tote, which is just like the trash containers Scott customers already use - except it has a different color lid. The pilot homes received one of these containers which hold recyclable materials like cardboard, plastics, paper products and aluminum. They are picked up once a month by Scott Waste instead of regular trash pickup.
Because of the success of the pilot program, Bouldin wanted to see it offered to everyone and one of the ways to do that and not charge any additional cost to the customer is to come together as one - the county and four cities - and bid out a longer contract.
The deal is that if Scott Waste is awarded the unified future contract they will agree to providing recycling and keep the cost the same or lower than they are now in exchange for a longer contract.