After collecting community input on a plan that would uniformize city waste hauling last spring, the city plans to ask for additional feedback through an advisory ballot question in the fall. Since …
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After collecting community input on a plan that would uniformize city waste hauling last spring, the city plans to ask for additional feedback through an advisory ballot question in the fall.
Since 2018, the city has been exploring options to partner with a single trash hauler to serve the waste hauling, recycling and composting needs of all Arvada households that do not belong to an HOA, or households that belong to an HOA that does not oversee waste hauling services.
The city has received proposals from four potential haulers, director Kate Bailey with consultant Eco-Cycle Solutions said.
During their July 22 meeting, council members debated whether to draft a ballot question before negotiating terms with the bidders.
The results of the advisory ballot question would be non-binding, instead serving as a guide for how council should proceed. Councilmembers John Marriott, Mark McGoff and David Jones supported the inclusion of the question, wanting to procure current data from residents. Councilmembers Dot Miller, Bob Fifer and Nancy Ford opposed the idea, with Miller arguing “we’re elected by our citizens to make the tough decisions.”
Mayor Marc Williams broke the tie, choosing to move forward with the ballot question, which councilmembers will draft this summer.
However, just preparing to draft the question found councilmembers divided as they discussed the specifics of the trash-hauling offer the city will make to its residents.
Councilmembers debated whether to split the city into districts and assign a different hauler to each district, or to partner with one hauler citywide. While councilmembers hoped for pricing data to aid their decision, Bailey said that no city has collected adequate data on the subject, leading to some uncertainty of how residents would be affected by a single hauler.
While a shift to a single hauler could see some residents pay less than what they are paying now, others will likely pay more, Bailey said. However, all residents will have access to additional services, such as recycling and composting, she said.
“We’ve heard from other communities that there’s a little more staff management on (the district method) side of things,” Bailey said, adding that this could make the effort slightly more expensive for the city.
Councilmembers favored the citywide option, despite Marriott and Fifer supporting a districts approach, with Fifer questioning what the city would fall back on if the single hauler went out of business.
The council also approved of a volume-based pricing approach, which would allow residents to choose from a 32-gallon, 64-gallon or 96-gallon trash cart. City staff had recommended this option, with Bailey praising it for being “a proven strategy nationwide to help increase recycling, and it also allows residents to have a little more control over their costs.”
The majority of council further approved the city managing the billing process and adding the waste-hauling bill to the water bill residents already receive. Marriott and Williams believed the hauler should be responsible for billing.
“I don’t know why we would want to have the city be the cop for the hauler for no reason,” Marriott said, though he added that tacking the cost onto the water bill would be “quite a good encouragement to pay.”
The city plans to hold a public hearing on the subject at a later date and will draft the advisory ballot question in August.
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