The city of Cheney will take over solid waste collection and disposal next year.
The city council decided at its meeting Tuesday night that it would not renew its contract with Sunshine Disposal & Recycling which has been serving the city since 2007 – the city had originally contracted with Waste Management in 2004 and Sunshine was later assigned the contract.
At the Nov. 24 meeting, council directed the city staff to look into what it would cost to provide its own services versus Sunshine’s proposal. Public works director Todd Ableman said that during the negotiation process, Sunshine proposed an increase and the council wanted to look at other options.
Ableman said the city will need to hire three full-time employees as equipment operators and to maintain the collection and disposal of residential and commercial garbage. Ableman said the goal is to have two of those employees in place by Jan. 4.
The solid waste department will be administered by the public works department and the finance department will administer customer inquiries, accounts and billing.
The city will need to purchase a new front end loader, two used front end loaders, a new roll off truck and a container carrier truck. The cost for the equipment is estimated to be $695,000. It will also need to replace existing trash containers that are owned by Sunshine for $168,700.
Cheney’s current shop facility will serve as a place for repairs and storage of the equipment and the wash station will require upgrading to wash trash containers and equipment.
In 2010, Ableman said the city could provide this service to its residents for a total of $1,017,500 versus the original bid by Sunshine at the Nov. 24 meeting of $1,031,237. Representatives from Sunshine revised that original bid by offering free services for garbage at City Hall, along the streets of downtown and other city-owned buildings to $979,736. The cost of both the city’s plan and Sunshine’s plan are variable due to disposal costs which are measured by volume and tonnage.
“I tend to overestimate,” Ableman said.
Curt Huff was the only council member that voted against the city taking over these services.
“In my opinion, we put the city at risk,” Huff said. “We’re getting into an enterprise here and I see us putting the risk on the ratepayers.”
During the transition period, the city is contracting with the city of Spokane to help with collection and disposal. That contract will run from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, 2010.