November 22, 2014

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Townships, 2 cities look to form trash consortium

Nearly a third of the county’s population could be paying less money to have their trash and recyclables picked up if talks to contract with a single trash hauler bear fruit.

Whichever firm may eventually win a contract to serve Avon, Avon Lake and a projected 13 townships at last count, that company will bag a very big prize.

“We’re probably talking just under 40,000 residences and a population around 107,000,” Carlisle Township Trustee Robert White said.

White is president of the Lorain County Township Association, many of whose members have been holding meetings to form a consortium looking to collectively negotiate for lower-priced trash pick-up services.

While trash-hauling costs vary between political subdivisions, White estimated rates paid by the townships and cities in the group vary by about 10 percent.

“There is a wide discrepancy,” White said.

Avon Lake’s approximately 7,000 households pay $54 a quarter per household for trash pickup by Republic Waste, according to Avon Lake County President Martin O’Donnell. The city’s contract with Republic expires this year.

Amherst Township Trustee Neil Lynch said he pays $78 a quarter for trash service.

Much of the county is served by Republic Waste, whose workers recently staged a week-long strike in support of a strike against the company by Teamsters in the Youngstown area.

And while talks by the townships and cities were underway prior to the strike, the strike served as a catalyst to step up the efforts.

LaGrange Township Trustee Gary Burnett said the joint effort is not meant as a shot against Republic Waste, but acknowledged the strike pushed the consortium to the forefront.

A mega-contract for trash collection services would benefit an estimated 2,000 households in his township, Burnett said.

The exact number of companies that may vie for the consortium contract is yet to be determined, according to White, who hopes to have a deal signed by the end of the year.

Talks between the group and prospective waste haulers are likely to call for a three-year deal.

While cities have set contracts for trash-hauling services, township residents typically contract for garbage pick-up on a month-to-month basis, according to White.

In addition to Amherst, Carlisle and LaGrange townships, other townships that have expressed interest in having a uniform contract include Brighton, Brownhelm, Columbia, Eaton, Grafton, Huntington, LaGrange, Penfield, Pittsfield and Sheffield in Lorain County, and Olmsted Township in Cuyahoga County, which is a member of the Lorain County Township Association, according to Lynch.

Whatever comes of the current efforts, the group has until May 22 to decide whether to retain GT Environmental, a consulting firm in Westerville, a town north of Columbus, to negotiate a contract, according to White.

The group hopes to solicit and receive proposals from trash haulers sometime in August, Lynch said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.