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City to cease trash pick-up to businesses

Date: 6/26/2012

June 25, 2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD — For the businesses, non-profits and apartment buildings that have been paying the $75 annual trash fee for municipal waste pick-up there was bad news and good news last week.

The bad news is the city is pulling service from these customers and forcing them to seek a private hauler as part of the cut backs in the new fiscal year 2013 budget. The good news is the Department of Public Works (DPW) will be putting out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to private haulers to establish a discounted price for the 4,100 barrels that are being eliminated from the weekly pick-up.

DPW Director Allan Chwalek explained to Reminder Publications that on June 1 more than 540 letters went out to the owners of various businesses, non-profit organizations, churches, office buildings, the Springfield Housing Authority, colleges, funeral homes, restaurant, bars and apartment buildings, among others, informing them that as of Aug. 1, the city would no longer be extending trash pickup to these properties and must seek a private hauler.

A meeting with those affected by the decision on June 19 yielded the proposal to seek a private hauler that would offer a group price, he explained. Chwalek said he intends to prepare an RFP by the end of this week and have bids returned within two weeks. He still would like the new system to be in place by the first week of August.

He emphasized that any affected property owner does not have to participate in the group and can opt out to seek a separate price.

The private hauler would still pick up recyclable materials for free, Chwalek said, as the private trucks are equipped with spate storage areas for trash and recyclables.

The property owners will pay "absolutely more" for the private service, Chwalek said.

The $75 fee covers about 40 percent of the cost of picking up the solid waste, he explained. The city pays $3.5 million for the disposal of solid waste not recyclables and yard waste and that does not include the cost of city employees or the trucks, Chwalek added.

Although the City Council did not approve a recent effort to increase the trash fee, Chwalek said additional efforts to seek an increase would be made.

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