Springboro bucks trend with single-day trash collection

Most municipal trash collection occurs over multiple days.

Springboro leaders last week resisted a trend seen in cities across the U.S. weighing the rising costs of garbage collection against the expectations of local residents.

Experts say most municipal trash collections today are handled by contractors on multiple days during the week by contractors to control costs of the service.

“Most services are designed for a community to be served every work day,” said Jeremy O’Brien, director of applied research for the Solid Waste Association of North America.

Instead the Springboro City Council extended for up to nine years a contract with Waste Management to handle waste collections all in one day, keeping the large, obstructive trucks off local streets for the rest of the week.

“We showed a significant savings to Springboro,” Dean Farrier of Rumpke said during a council work session on April 2. The savings, $1.43 a month per customer, totaled more than $160,000 over five years.

Springboro officials pointed out Rumpke had failed to bid for the one-day service preferred by the city, unlike the other two bidders, Waste Management and Republic Services.

“The public also expects a certain level of service,” City Manager Chris Thompson added.

Cost-Conscious Collections

Waste collection is conducted throughout the week in communities across the region, including Hamilton, Huber Heights, Kettering, Lebanon, Mason, Miamisburg, Middletown, Troy and Xenia, according to a newspaper survey.

According to Rumpke, since Xenia switched, Germantown is the only city among 46 it serves in Butler, Warren, Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties where it doesn’t do multi-day collections.

Waste Management indicated it offered both alternatives in the region, but provided no additional details. It provides one-day service contracts to Springboro and Miami Twp., Montgomery County.

Basic residential rates range from around $10 to $25 a month, according to the newspaper survey.

“You can buy any service you want. It’s going to drive up the cost,”O’’Brien said.

Multi-day pickup is also the rule in municipalities still handling the service, including Dayton, Centerville, Oakwood and Troy, as well as those leaving it to residents to handle it themselves like Springfield and Beavercreek.

“We work our way around the city on weekdays every week,” said Patrick Titterington, director of public service and service in Troy. “We have two trucks that go out and pick up the whole city.”

In addition to quality of service, some communities base their decision on concerns about excessive road wear by the heavy trucks.

“With 140 miles of residential roads in our city, trash trucks cost the city approximately $340,000,” Huber Heights found in a 2012 study conducted before contracting with Republic for multi-day service. Previously the service was left to residents resulting in multiple contractors’ trucks traveling city streets to individual accounts.

Rates for Huber Heights residents are currently $9.96, according to city records.

Rumpke said it usually could offer lower rates for multi-day service, based in part on reduced fuel costs.

However Miami Twp. received a lower bid for single-day service from Waste Management, according to Kyle Hinkleman, deputy community development director in Miami Twp.

Miami Twp. residents currently pay a $12.17 a month basic rate, Hinkleman said.

“Every community is different. They look for different things,” said Kathy Trent of Waste Management. “We listen to what the community wants in terms of their service.”

Through multi-day service, Rumpke saves itself fuel costs and passes on savings to contracting cities, according to spokesperson Molly Yeager Broadwater.

“Most communities rely on our routing efficiencies to pass on cost savings to their residents,” she said. “It does add up.”

Usually Rumpke follows bid specifications, Broadwater said in an email, “We felt in the case of Springboro, that we could provide the best pricing by including an alternate bid.”

Enhanced service

At the Springboro meeting, several council members noted the benefits of one-day service in terms of preventing the clogging up of traffic and getting kids on and off school buses. Councilwoman Janie Ridd talked of “intangibles.” Officials said they would also have been required to seek bids on multi-day service from other contractors.

In rejecting Rumpke’s bid, the council turned down a chance to lower residential rates from $14.33 to $12.90 a month through April 30, 2020.

While contracting for commercial service with Rumpke, Oakwood continues to serve residents itself, picking up garbage at the back door.

“Oakwood maintains its charm and character through a carefully conducted program of refuse removal, including weekly backdoor refuse collection. The result is a clean, attractive city,” according to the city’s web site. Residents pay $25 a month.

While contracting with Rumpke for recycling, Troy continues to do residential garbage pickup itself. Residents pay $15.50 a month through May 2015.

“Our residents really like it. They know it’s our staff,” Titterington said. “They know if they have a complaint or concern about either service, they just call city hall and we get it resolved.”

About the Author