Beavercreek City Council and City Manager Mike Cornell are continuing discussions about taking away a resident’s choice of who picks up their trash and making it a city service under contract to one waste hauler. During the discussions, there has been talk about savings, but if other cities are any example, those savings may be as little as 80 cents over three months.

Discussion of what is being called the “Waste Hauler Contract” are only taking place at work sessions and special meetings. As of yet, the topic has not been brought up during any regular televised meeting of City Council. The most recent meeting where the topic was discussed was at the April 21, 2008 Work Session, according to the meeting’s agenda.

According to Rumpke Municipal Representative Matthew McNelly, the City of Beavercreek under the direction of City Manager Mike Cornell has been looking into the idea since as early as October of 2007. McNelly first mentioned that the city was considering granting a single hauler waste contract when he spoke to the Beavercreek Rotary Club on October 12, 2007.

McNelly said that the city is considering granting one contract for all waste removal services for residents to either Rumpke, Waste Management or Dempsey. At the time, McNelly said the goal was to provide a cost savings for residents. But according to an investigation by The Beavercreek Record, any savings for residents may be negligible.

Our investigation showed that Fairborn, which has such a system and is smaller than Beavercreek, charges it’s residents $15 a month for curbside pickup of trash. The service is managed by Waste Management. Currently, a typical Rumpke bill for three months of service for a Beavercreek resident is $45.80. The difference between the two bills is only 80 cents over three months.

Similarly, we looked at Kettering which also has a single waste hauler contract with Waste Management. The cost for base service, the lowest a resident could pay, is $14.69 a month. But if a Kettering resident wants to use a Waste Management container, there’s an extra $2.50 a month rental charge.

Some argue that going with a city chosen provider will open up recycling opportunities, but according to a 2006 press release from the city, a portion of the monthly charge residents currently pay to their individual waste hauler is already forwarded to the Greene County Solid Waste Management District so that a county-wide recycling efforts can be provided.

Talk about awarding a contract to a single waste hauler has been around since 2001 when the Beavercreek Environmental Advisory Committee first suggested it as part of a way to improve recycling. On June 9, 2003, members of the BEAC made a presentation to the 2003 City Council that included a call for awarding such a contract. Members of the BEAC argued that awarding the contract would improve recycling and the current average rate would be lower with more service. The meeting’s minutes did not include what level of services were added to achieve the “average rate”.

During that discussion in 2003, then council member Bob Glaser said that he had problems with removing competition. Council member Fowler said that it would be taking a decision away from citizens and giving it to the government. Council member Jerry Petrak said that if the issue was recycling, then mandate all haulers to recycle. Vice Mayor Bob Stone said there would have to be substantial savings to the consumer for him to support it; otherwise let the market rule. Council member Julie Vann said she would like to see more information on the issue from staff and the City Manager at the time, Dan Dubruiel said that staff had not formed an opinion since he felt the proposal should be presented to Council first.

The subject and what it represents could easily become controversial. If Beavercreek City Council goes forward with plans to award a single hauler waste contract in Beavercreek, it would represent the first time the city mandates a public service with a fee rather than funding it through levies. The possible controversy surrounding the issue may explain why the topic has been given such low-key treatment, only being discussed at untelevised meetings.

Tony Corvo, local author of the book “All Politics is Loco: Musings from the Conservative Next Door”, said, “This is just another example of government failing to deal with their legitimate functions, and instead expanding into areas they have no business in so they can fail at that also. If the city council and manager are bored, someone should bring them a deck of cards.”

Story by Craig Barhorst.