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Allied gets 5 more years

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Instead of entering the trash business themselves, Summit County commissioners approved a contract last Wednesday for Allied Waste Services to pick up garbage from residents for the next five years.

"I see no realistic way for us to do anything else but renew the contract with [Allied Waste]," lamented Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme before he voted to award the contract.

Woolstenhulme criticized officials for ignoring a recommendation from the county’s citizen solid waste advisory committee.

Rather than work with a private hauler, the committee wanted Summit County’s public works department to begin collecting garbage from residents

"I think we’ve wasted about two years of [the committee’s] time," Woolstenhulme said. "We have treated their recommendation as though it didn’t carry any weight."

But the county’s current hauler, Allied Waste Services, known formerly as BFI, was the only private hauler to respond to a request for bids, said Kevin Callahan, administrator for Summit County Public Works.

Woolstenhulme blamed Callahan and "one other" member of the advisory committee for scuttling the county’s ability to haul trash.

"Right from the beginning I said I was skeptical about the county going into the trash-collection business," County Commissioner Bob Richer countered. "Going alone, we were very concerned about a lot of the uncertainties."

Callahan says a tight labor market in Summit County would make it difficult to hire drivers.

"I believe that it would be a challenge for us to keep our costs down up here," he added.

The new contract for Allied Waste, which includes pickup for single and multi-family housing, increased the county’s annual payment to the company from roughly $1 million to nearly $1.4 million, according to Callahan.

"The county could do it for $35,000 less (during the first year) than what I believe it would cost for Allied to do it," he said, while insisting the saving doesn’t justify dumping its private hauler.

To encourage recycling, Allied Waste has hiked the one-time cost to obtain an extra trash container next year from $11.50 to $20.

"What we see that doing is deterring people from getting a second container and getting a (less expensive) recycle container," said Rick Schultz, general manager for Allied Waste. "Our desire is to increase the recycling efforts."

Meanwhile, the County Commission likely squandered a chance to "be a leader in recycling" by not allowing the County Curbside company to pick up materials throughout all of Park City and Snyderville, according to County Curbside partner Shirin Spangenberg.

"With our system, 99 percent of the material is recycled," she said.

The new contract, however, means Curbside, who currently works with the county to pick up recyclables, will continue in parts of Park City and the Kamas Valley, while Allied Waste will pick up curbside recyclables from remaining subscribers in western Summit County.

Woolstenhulme voted against the arrangement because Allied Waste’s automated system doesn’t recycle glass.

"I think it’s important that we recycle glass," he said.

Providing the free curbside service to nearly 4,500 residents costs the county roughly $290,000 per year, according to Callahan.

This year the commission wants the number of residents who recycle to jump by 10 percent.

Meanwhile, to make up a roughly $100,000 shortfall in the county’s 2007 solid waste budget commissioners may increase landfill tipping fees.


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