Trash options

The city of Mineral Wells is exploring options in the conversion from bag service to poly carts in its solid waste collection contract with Waste Connections.

“When I moved here in 2007, I found it very strange that we didn’t have trash carts,” Mineral Wells Mayor Regan Johnson said. “To me, this is something very basic and a very long time coming.”

The city is also looking into including the Convenience Center cost into the monthly rate instead of imposing a gate charge for residents.

Two options were presented to the city council Tuesday night, however, no action was taken.

“I think there are people that would probably like to have a better method than what we have in Mineral Wells,” City Manager Randy Criswell said. “This will affect commercial collection if we decide to do this and it would increase residential cost as well — it’s going to raise all those costs.”

Waste Connections District Manager for the Weatherford area Sean Dowden went over the benefits of using poly carts, saying they eliminate animals getting into trash bags, prevent blowing garbage, prevent odors and pests with attached lids, eliminate collections crews’ exposure to personal or dangerous contents and they have a uniform look along streets.

But Dowden said they would still pick up bagged trash if there is some overflow.

“Holidays are going to happen and things of that nature, and you’re always going to have some overage involved in that,” he said. “The carts are 96 gallons and I know at my own personal house I can throw six 30-gallon bags in there.

“As far as the cost goes, it’s a very minimal increase across the board for the entire city.”

In the current contract with Waste Connections, residential service is $9.95 plus a city administrative fee of $3.85 for a total of $13.80 monthly for residents. For commercial, the cost is based on the size and how many times a week, with the lowest starting at $64.43 for 2 cubic yards picked up once a week and going all the way up to $55.09 for 8 cubic yards picked up six times a week.

The city pays a monthly fee to Waste Connections for hauls at the Convenience Center and residents are charged a fee at the gate to drop off there.

“Any time you charge folks at the gate, I think there’s sometimes hesitation to use that as a service, which is what we do at the Convenience Center,” Criswell said. “If you take a load of trash to the Convenience Center, you’re going to be charged on the spot for that trash.”

The Option 1 new proposal from Waste Connections includes:

• Residential collection cost of $16.23 total monthly ($11.44 WC; $4.79 city fee).

• Poly carts provided to all residents with continued two times a week service.

• Lowered haul rate to reflect $200 per haul for the Convenience Center to include disposal of $40 per ton.

• Commercial businesses and residential incur increases.

• Special waste/sludge lowered for the haul rate of $300 and includes a disposal fee of $40 per ton.

The Option 2 proposal from WC includes:

• Residential collection cost of $17.03 total monthly ($12.24 WC; $4.79 city fee).

• Poly carts provided to all residents with continued two times a week service.

• Convenience Center hauls and disposal are “free” up to 400 hauls annually.

• If Convenience Center hauls exceed annual 400 hauls, the price is $200 per haul and $40 per ton.

• Commercial businesses and residential incur increases.

• Special waste/sludge lowered for the haul rate of $300 and includes a disposal fee of $40 per ton.

Criswell said Option 1 still leaves the need to probably charge a little bit at the gate at the Convenience Center. On Option 2, it’s $0.80 a month higher, but the city administrative fee stays the same and the Convenience Center is completely included in the rate. But he added there would need to be some limitations on the use of the Convenience Center.

A few council members made comments that they favored Option 2.

The city fee portion not only goes towards billing and administrative costs but primarily to street maintenance.

“I can tell you that’s a very reasonable fee and a justifiable increase and ultimately I could argue that number could be greater than that,” Criswell said.

Criswell said additional options can be explored before any action is taken.

The council is looking to get feedback from residents on what they want in their trash service and ask that those that would like to give input email council members or the mayor.

The discussion will be brought back to a future council meeting.

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