Submitted by Howard B. Owens on December 18, 2012 - 5:04pm
Sample tote/cart for illustration purposes only. The product from the winning bidder could vary.
The city has ambitious plans to transform waste collection in Batavia into a service that bills all property owners, encourages recycling and reduces costs through automation.
The details of the city's goals are part of two requests for proposals (RFPs) posted earlier this week on the city's Web site. One RFP covers a supply of wheeled recycling and refuse totes (or carts) and the other seeks a contractor to provide refuse and recycling pick up.
The new program would move the city away from the current use of garbage bags, cans and small blue recycling buckets.
And if Genesee ARC doesn't win the contract -- or fails to bid on it -- it could mean the end of a 30-year relationship with the agency that serves the local developmentally disabled community.
Under terms of the RFPs, the city would purchase the totes and handle all billing, accounting and fee collections.
Property owners would pay the fees and be responsible for determining which size refuse and recycling carts they would use (outside of just accepting the default options).
The fee paid by each property owner would be based on the size of the refuse cart. A 95-gallon tote would cost more than a 65-gallon tote.
The actual amount of the fee will be determined based on the cost of the contracts awarded.
The variable fee program will end the practice of charging for waste collection through property taxes. City Manager Jason Molino said this should lead to a reduction in property taxes for city residents.
Customers would receive free recycling totes, regardless of number or size.
The default options for a single family home is a 95-gallon refuse container and a 65-gallon recycling tote.
Molino said the city hopes residents will put the emphasis on recycling, not waste disposal.
"The city wants you to request 95-gallon recycling tote and a 65-gallon refuse tote because it’s cheaper and you generate less refuse tonnage and you divert more to the recycling stream," Molino said.
Multiple dwelling units, up to four families, would each get a 95-gallon refuse cart per family and one 65-gallon recycling cart per property.
The property owner could request a different configuration, and requesting bigger recycling containers and smaller refuse containers would save the property owner money.
The wheeled totes would come in 35, 65 and 95 gallon sizes and meet certain specified quality standards. according to the RFP. They would be covered by a 10-year warranty.
The waste collection company would be expected to deploy two trucks each weekday (except specified holidays).
According to the RFPs, the city generates 4,487 tons of refuse annually, and though statistics have not been kept on recycling collection, the city estimates local residents and businesses generate 800 to 900 tons of recycling material annually.
As part of the waste program, large items left curbside for pick up will require a city-purchased sticker -- at $5 per sticker. Since 2008, an average of 3,070 bulk waste stickers sold annually.
The city anticipates a need for 5,300 garbage totes and 5,000 for recycling.
Refuse would be picked up every week and the recycling bin for each customer would be picked up every other week.
Molino said the city will also try to encourage composting by residents of organic matter to help reduce the amount of garbage going into the refuse stream.
"That’s more of an education effort," Molino said.
Bids will be opened in a public meeting at 1 p.m., Jan. 9.
The contract award will be based on meeting RFP specifications and costs.
Molino and a committee will review the bids, reject any that don't meet specifications and then recommend a bid winner to the city council.
The city council would have to approve the contracts -- at a Jan. 28 meeting -- and could potentially reject any recommended bid.
If a bid is accepted, the contractor would be expected to finish delivery of totes to customers by the end of May and the new collection service would start in June.
The request for bids comes near the end of a five-year contract between the city and Genesee ARC.
Genesee ARC has provided the city's garbage service for nearly 30 years and at an annual cost, recently, of $810,000 a year. The agency, based in Batavia, employs 30 people in the service, including 20 with developmental disabilities.
In order to compete for the bid, ARC would likely need to consider buying at least two new garbage trucks, and possibly a third just to handle recycling, in order to meet the specifications of the new proposed contract.
Each truck costs a minimum of $100,000, with prices ranging up to $200,000 each.
Donna Saskowski, executive director of the ARC, said the agency continues to evaluate its options and hasn't made a decision about how it's going to proceed.
Currently, ARC employs two people per garbage truck and three people per truck for recycling pick up.
The automated trucks designed to pick up totes only need one employee per truck.
The potential impact on the agency's employment per truck isn't necessarily the agency's primary concern, Saskowski said.
"We’re tring to be as businesslike and as professional as we can and address the needs of citizen of Batavia," Saskowski said. "That really is our goal."