In Effort to Save Money, 5 Kenton Cities Seek Joint Waste Hauling Contract
The Cities of Edgewood, Ludlow, Villa Hills, Elsmere, and Taylor Mill have combined on a plan that aims to save the residents of those cities money on their waste-hauling services. The idea is that the five cities will join together on a bid for a new waste-hauling contract that should come in at a better price than they would get individually.
With each city's current contract set to expire this summer, the plan to join forces was suggested by Edgewood City Administrator Brian Dehner who sought ways to lower the cost of the residents' waste-removal services.
“We all do pretty much the same thing. We have a couple of community events that we need waste-hauling for, we provide curbside pickup and we provide recycling for residents, so we thought it was a great opportunity for all of the communities to get together and try to find out if a service like that would better benefit our residents by giving a reduced rate,” Dehner said.
When combined, the five cities have about 35,000 people and 14,000 residential units.
“It really more than triples our purchasing power,” Dehner said. “If you look at it, we become a larger entity combined than an Earlanger-type of community or an Independence-type of community.”
Dehner said that the prior bids of the five cities were nearly identical which is why this would be a fair deal for all five cities, and that each one has the right to turn down the proposal if they are unsatisfied with the terms.
“When you looked at each one of the communities that are involved, our prior bids that we sent out were almost identical. I don't think there are any drawbacks in doing it this way because we all still are going to hold our rights as individual communities to reject any bid or select any bid independently, so the community should feel safe in the fact that they are still capable of acting as an independent community,” Dehner said.
On Wednesday, Taylor Mill City Administrator Jill Bailey said the bids could be in the range of $8 million over three years. Waste-hauling companies in the area include Rumpke, Best Way Disposal, Republic (which was formerly CSI), and a company from Tennessee, which is making its way into Kentucky, called Red River.
“Our hope is that we become large enough that we might see some level like Waste Management put in as well,” Dehner said. “With only 3,100 units in Edgewood, we may not attract as many companies that want to bid, but by the 14,000 residential units, we may start attracting that and we can create some competitive nature between the waste haulers, and hopefully that competitive nature also reduces the price.”
Dehner emphasized that the various cities are committed to maintaining a high standard of service while trying to find a low price for their residents on garbage days.
“We also want to make sure that as a combined group, if we go through this process and we select one vendor to provide for all five of our communities, our hope is that we are able to make sure that our service level is kept to a higher standard because of the fact that we are joined together now. We're going to continue to talk about the service we're getting in our communities and we've been doing that since we got together."
"All the city administrators that have been involved with this have done a great job getting together and talking about issues that we have, how we deal with them, and we're finding out again that there are a lot of similarities in terms of service questions and service issues. I think that will help our residents as well.”
There have been other examples of cities combining services to better serve the people that live there. Villa Hills City Administrator/Clerk Craig Bohman talked about how the region has grown comfortable with merging services for various reasons.
“There are examples of interlocal agreements all over Northern Kentucky. Instead of merging jurisdictions, Northern Kentucky seems to like doing interlocal agreements and sharing services,” said Bohman. “We in Villa Hills are part of the joint code enforcement board, along with several other jurisdictions in Kenton County. We contract with Planning and Development Services of Northern Kentucky. We share a fire department with Crescent Springs. There a lots of examples of cities working together.”
Bohman said that merging for a new waste-hauling contract was the next logical step in that direction.
“What's the next thing we can share? Well, we've not attempted to share a garbage contract before so let's go out and see what this looks like, because we think this will be a plus for our communities,” he said.
The group of city administrators anticipates getting the bids back on April 17 where they will then assess the numbers and form an analysis on what the market is offering for their waste-hauling services.
“Whatever this comes up to, in all of our communities, the resident is paying it, so we kind of felt like we owed the time that we're putting in for this to the residents to try to get the best price and the best service that we can,” Dehner said.
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor