With its fleet of trash trucks aging, the town of Port Royal faces a decision: Buy new ones and raise collection rates to pay for them, or get out of the trash pick-up business altogether.
Town Council seems to be leaning toward the latter possibility.
It is considering three contracts from two private companies, ranging from $123,000 to $191,700 a year. Council is expected to vote at its 6:30 p.m. meeting tonight at Town Hall, 700 Paris Ave.
If the council accepts one of the contracts, the town would not have to purchase three new trash trucks at a combined cost of about $560,000. Otherwise, Port Royal likely would increase monthly rates by $6 to $7 for the next five to seven years to pay for new trucks.
All residents pay a combined $16.50 for trash, recycling and yard debris pick up.
Town staff calculated that, currently, solid waste pick-up costs the town $6.97 per month for most residents, who have weekly pickup, and for residents in Port Royal Landing, who have twice weekly pickup. Senior citizens cost $3.47 per month, and commercial pick-up is $13.47.
In March, council told staff to seek proposals to contract out the work. Waste Pro already provides curb-side collection of items for recycling, and the town collects yard debris.
Waste Pro and competitor Republic submitted proposals to pick up trash for the 1,742 residences and 33 small businesses currently served by the town, according to a report by town engineer Tony Maglioni. The contract would be separate from recycling and would not include debris pick up, which the town would continue. Maglioni said the town's employees who pick up trash would become employees of the contracted company and layoffs would not be required.
Republic would charge the town $9 for all customers to continue service as is.
Waste Pro submitted two proposals. According to the first, the company would charge the town $6.15 for residential pick-up, $8.15 for commercial and $12.30 for residents of Port Royal Landing. It also submitted a second proposal, in case the town agrees to allow it to use trucks with automated side-loading arms that can lift trash bins. The company has trucks that do both. The automated trucks require less manpower lowers the costs to $5.50 for residential, $7.50 for commercial and $11 for Port Royal Landing.
The trash pickup fees residents and business pay the town currently raise about $147,166 a year. Waste Pro bid $138,276 for conventional pick up and $123,552 for automated pick-up, according to the report.
Waste Pro would provide new trash bins designed for side loading at no charge, but wants a five-year contract to do it.
He recommends the town go with either Waste Pro proposal and keep rates as they are.
"Basically, in a nutshell, we don't have to raise rates this year with either of the contracts," Maglioni said. The amount paid under the five-year contract would increase annually based on cost-of-living and fuel prices, Maglioni said, "because those are the only two things we can't control in life."
Maglioni also recommends no new customers be added to the senior-citizen and disabled-resident discount program, which should be phased out. He further said Port Royal Landing residents should be charged twice as much as other residents, since their trash is picked up twice a week and everyone else gets service once a week.
If the automatic loading plan is chosen, it should be phased in over several months, the report recommends. The current trash bins could become large recycle bins and the town could transition to picking up recycling once every two week, potentially leading to more savings.