2014-04-17 / Front Page

Trash Contract Finalized

By Barry Bridges

At the April 9 meeting of the Newport City Council, a new fiveyear solid waste and recycling contract was awarded to Waste Management of Foxboro, Mass. The vote was 5 to 1, with Councilor Michael Farley recused and Third Ward Councilor Kathryn Leonard voting against the agreement.

A new system of city-owned carts will be implemented to streamline collection procedures, which is designed to save money and improve overall service. Newport will purchase one recycling cart and one waste cart for each dwelling unit at a one-time cost of approximately $959,000. This expense is expected to be recouped through cost savings realized over the life of the contract.

Waste Management will also institute a sticker-based “pay-as-youthrow” program for bulky waste and an on-street litter barrel collection service that will include the installation of 45 additional solarpowered trash and recycling units.

Yard waste collection services will remain the same.

The new arrangement is expected to save the city $250,000 per year. The estimated cost to Newport is $1.7 million for the first base year, plus the additional expenditure for the carts. These monies are currently budgeted. The annual contract amount paid to Waste Management will be negotiated and adjusted on July 1 of each subsequent year based on the Consumer Price Index.

Leonard voiced her objections prior to the vote.

“From almost every phone call I’ve received, people are very happy with the service they receive at the present time with the trash collection,” she said. As for the city providing everyone’s carts, she said, “I personally think that there are a lot of people who’ve already bought barrels, and I don’t really think that spending $959,000 is such a good idea. If each of us buys our own cart, they belong to us.”

She also went on the record against the pay-as-you-throw program. “I don’t think when you throw something out, like a chair or a table, that you should have to pay 20 bucks, and I don’t think we have that many bulky waste items anyway.” She felt that one result of the fees would be that residents simply abandon items on the street.

“I would vote for the present system of trash removal, but I will not vote to support the pay-as-youthrow part and the almost $1 million in carts,” she concluded.

In response to questions from Councilor Marco Camacho, Director of Public Services William Riccio advised that, with few exceptions, the size of the two carts delivered to each of the city’s 10,100 serviced properties would be 64 gallons. This allows for consistency and uniformity, and helps the contractor to achieve anticipated efficiencies through collection trucks that can automatically lift the canisters. A limited number of smaller bins will be available for those who may have difficulty moving larger ones.

According to a memo from City Manager Jane Howington, the contract period officially starts on July 1, but the new services will actually begin on Nov. 1 after a transition period to procure and distribute the necessary equipment. “This will also allow adequate time for community outreach and education,” she said.

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