Proposed city waste program would mean totes, encourage recycling, institute fee structure
|Sample tote/cart for illustration purposes only. The product from the winning bidder could vary.|
The city has ambitious plans to transform waste collection in Batavia into a service that bills all property owners, encourages recycling and reduces costs through automation.
The details of the city's goals are part of two requests for proposals (RFPs) posted earlier this week on the city's Web site. One RFP covers a supply of wheeled recycling and refuse totes (or carts) and the other seeks a contractor to provide refuse and recycling pick up.
The new program would move the city away from the current use of garbage bags, cans and small blue recycling buckets.
And if Genesee ARC doesn't win the contract -- or fails to bid on it -- it could mean the end of a 30-year relationship with the agency that serves the local developmentally disabled community.
Under terms of the RFPs, the city would purchase the totes and handle all billing, accounting and fee collections.
Property owners would pay the fees and be responsible for determining which size refuse and recycling carts they would use (outside of just accepting the default options).
The fee paid by each property owner would be based on the size of the refuse cart. A 95-gallon tote would cost more than a 65-gallon tote.
The actual amount of the fee will be determined based on the cost of the contracts awarded.
The variable fee program will end the practice of charging for waste collection through property taxes. City Manager Jason Molino said this should lead to a reduction in property taxes for city residents.
Customers would receive free recycling totes, regardless of number or size.
The default options for a single family home is a 95-gallon refuse container and a 65-gallon recycling tote.
Molino said the city hopes residents will put the emphasis on recycling, not waste disposal.
"The city wants you to request 95-gallon recycling tote and a 65-gallon refuse tote because it’s cheaper and you generate less refuse tonnage and you divert more to the recycling stream," Molino said.
Multiple dwelling units, up to four families, would each get a 95-gallon refuse cart per family and one 65-gallon recycling cart per property.
The property owner could request a different configuration, and requesting bigger recycling containers and smaller refuse containers would save the property owner money.
The wheeled totes would come in 35, 65 and 95 gallon sizes and meet certain specified quality standards. according to the RFP. They would be covered by a 10-year warranty.
The waste collection company would be expected to deploy two trucks each weekday (except specified holidays).
According to the RFPs, the city generates 4,487 tons of refuse annually, and though statistics have not been kept on recycling collection, the city estimates local residents and businesses generate 800 to 900 tons of recycling material annually.
As part of the waste program, large items left curbside for pick up will require a city-purchased sticker -- at $5 per sticker. Since 2008, an average of 3,070 bulk waste stickers sold annually.
The city anticipates a need for 5,300 garbage totes and 5,000 for recycling.
Refuse would be picked up every week and the recycling bin for each customer would be picked up every other week.
Molino said the city will also try to encourage composting by residents of organic matter to help reduce the amount of garbage going into the refuse stream.
"That’s more of an education effort," Molino said.
Bids will be opened in a public meeting at 1 p.m., Jan. 9.
The contract award will be based on meeting RFP specifications and costs.
Molino and a committee will review the bids, reject any that don't meet specifications and then recommend a bid winner to the city council.
The city council would have to approve the contracts -- at a Jan. 28 meeting -- and could potentially reject any recommended bid.
If a bid is accepted, the contractor would be expected to finish delivery of totes to customers by the end of May and the new collection service would start in June.
The request for bids comes near the end of a five-year contract between the city and Genesee ARC.
Genesee ARC has provided the city's garbage service for nearly 30 years and at an annual cost, recently, of $810,000 a year. The agency, based in Batavia, employs 30 people in the service, including 20 with developmental disabilities.
In order to compete for the bid, ARC would likely need to consider buying at least two new garbage trucks, and possibly a third just to handle recycling, in order to meet the specifications of the new proposed contract.
Each truck costs a minimum of $100,000, with prices ranging up to $200,000 each.
Donna Saskowski, executive director of the ARC, said the agency continues to evaluate its options and hasn't made a decision about how it's going to proceed.
Currently, ARC employs two people per garbage truck and three people per truck for recycling pick up.
The automated trucks designed to pick up totes only need one employee per truck.
The potential impact on the agency's employment per truck isn't necessarily the agency's primary concern, Saskowski said.
"We’re tring to be as businesslike and as professional as we can and address the needs of citizen of Batavia," Saskowski said. "That really is our goal."
I sure hope the Arc bids and wins again. Let's take a guess how long before they tell us the fine we'll receive if we don't take our tote out of our front yard. And no, I would not WANT to leave it in my front yard or on my front porch, but the way my house is set up, I can barely squeeze into my car when it's in the driveway, so how the heck would I haul a dumpster to the back yard? In the summer I could pull it up my neighbor's driveway, but in the winter the snow piles would make it impossible.
I get so sick of the "you'll do things this way" around this city. For personal reasons, I can not sell my house just yet. But I can't wait for the day I no longer am a homeowner in Batavia.
Am glad to here this...Sound like a fair system to all..Sounds like alot of work has gone into this..In the end it will be about costs..Charging by tote size makes sense..This way a two family rental will use 2 totes and pay accordingly..Does this mean all non-profits will pay for trash pick-up..
"Property owners would pay the fees" and "City Manager Jason Molino said this should lead to a reduction in property taxes for city residents." Who wants to bet that we NEVER see a reduction in taxes, the fees will be outrageous, and we have 30 locals out of work, 20 who may not be able to find another job?
Why do you think some people should pay more than others and some should pay nothing at all? Explain to us why you think that is fair, please?
And why should ARC be given a contract without any competion? Why would they even try to hold down cost if they know they get a no bid contract ? Nothing against ARC, they always pick my trash, but they should compete.
Mark, without trash cost being based on property taxes, non profits will have to pay, like they do for water and sewer.
I read my post 3 times, John, where did i say some should pay more than others?? This was a comment on Mr. Molino's statement about a reduction in property tax, like that's somehow supposed to make us feel better about the fee that will be charged. I'm saying we will NEVER see a reduction in the property tax and be paying for trash pickup on top off it.
Why should it be the property owner that pays and not the user of the service? Now that would make sense. So a store that rents it's space won't pay for their own trash pick-up and instead the person who owns the building will have to pay? How can you possible control that? Good luck with that one. Better to keep it right in with property taxes so we are assured all will have trash service. I also think ARC has done a great job and they provide other valuable services to our community. Non-for-profits provide valuable services to our community and as such should not have to pay for trash pickup which is currently provided to them. They provide services to the community and, in-turn, we provide such services to them. To make "them" pay is only, in reality, charging us more for them to operate. We are them. Churches, non-for-profits, etc. Whenever someone wants to be more fair, it only means they are trying to reduce costs for themselves and increase costs for others. Where do you stop? Those who don't drive cars have that portion of taxes taken out of their property taxes for road maintenance? etc. etc. etc. We all benefit from services in our community despite the degree to which we directly use them. If you've never called the Police or Fire Department you still benefit by having the services they provide and such services deservingly are shared and not just paid for by those that directly use them. 911 HELP! Someone is breaking into my house! That will be $500 Miss. Will that be a Visa or Mastercharge?
First this system works all over WNY. Why is that people think residents of Batavia are not smart enough to make it work?
As for stores who rent space out, don't you think the owner would be smart enough to make trash pickup part of the Lease? You rent houses, would you not make trash pickup part of the lease and rent?
Non profits should pay for their own trash. Why should we be forced to pay for them? In fact, why should non profits not pay a fee in lieu of taxes for their share of other public services? A modest fee to pay their fair share?
And yes, I want to reduce my property taxes and spred the cost to all users of services.
We have this service in Virginia and the bill goes directly to the land owner - it's more like a tax and has made many very upset. For those in NY you could look at it in the same way as your school tax...everyone pays even if you don't currently have or never had any children using the public school system...you still pay because you own property. Ok, so we pay $17.50 per month. This is for recycling only in a blue tote, picked up every 2 weeks. We also have green totes for the garage picked up weekly. I don't know all the particulars...but since Suffolk has the regional landfill we don't currently pay disposal fees for our garbage. You can google all the disputes concerning the fees for recycling, billed to land owners or go to our local www.suffolknewsherald.com website and search for more information. We are contracted with Waste Management and we also have some recycling perks based on how much and often you are placing your blue tote at the curb. There is a chip inside that registers to your online account and awards you points that you can redeem for merchandise or donate to charity. It's suppose to help offset the $17.50 cash outlay each month. Since this program isn't even a year old yet it's hard to say how it will all play out. Here's hoping ARC can still compete - their organization really could use the continued business to support their awesome programs. It's a shame if the city only goes by their RFP's and doesn't work with the local ARC to come up with a workable solution that will benefit all involved. Best wishes Batavia!!!!
In Virginia, since this is "like" a tax and billed to all property owners there is no way around it. You can not opt out and dispose of your trash elsewhere. Well, you could but then you are paying twice!! Landlords just tack it onto the tenants bills. Not sure how that will work if you have options on the size of the trash bins. We only have one size fits all!
John: As usual, your very simplistic. Buy a piece of rental property and then comment so you have some knowledge on which to base your answers. A lease is a piece of paper that does nothing for short term solutions and judgements do little to resolve such immediate needs as trash collection. Go sit in Court some day and learn about the process to see where a lease gets you. I would love love love to see you put your money where your mouth is just for once. Please buy some property, fix it up, and rent it out. Then come talk. I just love when those with no experience in something have all the answers. At least in their world.
Trash collection is a basic necessity and installing separate rates under a property tax reduction claim is just a plain scam. Property taxes will not go down and fee rates will jump with each contract. Everyone will end up paying more. Many homes, like my own, generate very little trash and EVERYONE would still be locked into paying the required rates so nothing would be different as some will still pay even though their own use is far less than others. It's all better left in property tax rates where the costs are spread out among all for the lowest costs to all. And yes, I do support not charging Churches and not-for-profits for basic services when they are providing services that we all, the community as a whole, benefit from. Don't government offices also generate trash? In your case, City Hall would also be paying for trash service and taxpayers would be paying twice.
This is more about how the city will charge for trash pick up, not getting rid of ARC..Trash should not cost more to pick up at a house assessed at 250,000 dollars then at a house assessed at 70,000 dollars..ARC should have no problem with being competitive in this biding process..The wages and benefits they pay their employees are less then those at private trash companies..They are non profit so they should have an edge in those two area's..All the city seems like they are doing here is that they want to end the unfair practice of charging for trash pick up..A person who only puts our very little trash every week vs a two family apt house who put out 5 times as much trash will now pay more..A non profit such as GCASA who put out 20 bags of trash will get no more free ride.What is so wrong with being fair..I will also add that unless they lower the city tax rate by at least 2 dollars per thousand plus make this new charge less then 100 dollars a year ,there is no reason to do any of this...
Mark, I think ARC has some complicated issues to sort though as far as how they might respond. Just my opinion, but I think it's a little more complex than your comment makes out.
That said, I hope ARC bids, and personally I wouldn't mind paying a little more for an ARC-provisioned service than an out-of-town company. A little more.
All my adult life, I lived in communities were either I paid for garbage collection directly, or my landlord paid it and it was part of my rent. I never heard of taxpayer paid garbage collection until I came here. From 1996 until 2009, I lived in communities where not only did I pay for refuse service, I used company or municipal supplied totes/carts. Recycling was mandatory.
I love ARC, but the garbage and refuse process here has always struck me a little odd. I'm not itching for a change because I'm satisfied with the job ARC does, but the proposal from the city strikes me as neither out of step with what goes on in other communities nor unworkable.
My question for you, Mike, is how do you think landlords handle it in other communities? Besides my own personal experience, the city obviously did a lot of research to come up with this plan, so this isn't the first time it's being tried any where. Is it your assumption that this plan simply doesn't work in other communities for landlords? If it works elsewhere, why do you think it wouldn't work here?
I realize landlords in a community like Batavia deal with a lot of problems that maybe don't exist in slightly more affluent communities, so I understand your frustration with one more thing to worry about and deal with, but if it works elsewhere (if it does), why can't it work here?
Mark, under the current program, every residential unit can put out the maximum number of bags. While few put out only one bag, the maximum is five bags. A young family with kids likely would put out more than a single person. A family with children also spends far more in the community, increases the tax base more, etc. than a single person and it all balances out (IE: they have more trash mainly because they are consuming more). No services costs more for a $250K house than a $70K house and therefore, under your idea, property taxes would be the same for both houses and that brings us back to those that feel they should pay less at the cost of others paying more. I am sure some would love their $250K house taxes to go way down while those with the $70K house taxes go way up and the $250K homeowner would be perfectly ok with that, but there are far more citizens with a $70k house and the system we have, whether right or wrong, is that those who are able share a greater burden and costs are spread out. Those $70k home retirees, young familys, etc. pay more than their fair share already. In the end, property taxes will not go down, will go up, and costs for trash will just be an additional burden that we all have to send a separate check for adding to even more government administration costs. The "Bureau of trash collection fees" would soon be started and require staffing, an administrator, and perhaps maybe even annual bonuses when they do their job.
Howard, no where did I state it is a landlord issue other than John's catch all of putting things in a lease as the answer to any problem. It's not a landlord issue, it's a taxpayer issue. As a landlord, I am subsidizing more than most for such shared trash collection for not-for-profits etc. Nor did I say the fee based plan idea could not work. Nor have I seen anyone claim the fee based plan works everywhere else. But what is a plan that works and what is broken now? The point is, Why change the current plan when ARC is doing a great job? Because some think they can lower their own costs by charging not-for-profits and Churches etc. to lower their own costs? I'm sure it can work in that trash collection will still be picked up, but EVERYONE in the end will pay more not less.
Michael we pay our water bill based on usage not on property value...We should pay for trash on usage also..You might need large tote because you have more trash ,i might need the smallest size tote because i have less trash..Therefore my bill will be less ..Sounds fair to me...This is how most towns and villages deal with trash..It is not part of your taxes..This also promotes more recycling...Which is a good thing..The assessed value of your property does not equate with income..So to say those with higher assessed property can afford it more than someone with a lower assessed property is wrong...Many retirees bought homes years ago have seen their property triple in value along with their taxes but their income has stayed the same....Lets see what the bottom line on the cost of the new service will be and how much or city tax rate goes down....People will not buy into this if the tax rate doesn't come down......
Well actually Mark, the more water you use the cheaper the rate is so I guess that is a bad example and there is a minimum charge for water even if you don't use any, and the water line maintenance fees are spread out to all. I really really doubt anyone's house value has tripled unless you are going back 75+ years. Most houses have lost value especially in the City and those with homes assessed above the $250K you site are definately not the norm. The other problem with taking water fees out of the property taxes is that homeowners will no longer be able to deduct them in their income taxes and again this results in increased costs to home owners. I like your idea about getting the bottom line on what "they say" it will cost under the new plan and not being interested unless there are significant savings. Remember, your tax dollars, to a large extent, also fund all those not-for-profits and when their operating budgets increase, so will the costs to taxpayers. All in all, there would need to be significant cost savings for such a plan to make any sense at all. Here's hoping ARC is able to put together a good program to fit the City's goals. Increased recycling is a good goal, regardless if we keep the same trash system or adopt a new one.
ARC and how trash collection is paid for are separate issues, which you know.
ARC can bid on this or not, that is up to them. But even if they win the bid, the payment system for trash collection should be changed. Personally, I liked the pay per bag system, but that is a dead idea here. However, the tote system does have a public benefit by helping control rodents. There will be no more trash bags ripped open before they could be picked up.
There is no reason not to ask that we all pay a flat fee. Like you, I put out very little trash and I may or may not end up paying more in the end, but the issue is fairness. And asking non profits (like GCASA for example)to pay to have their garbage picked up is fair. The burden of supporting them has become greater with the higher cost of government and the increase in the number of non profit/tax exempt properties in the city.
Your claim that if a church or GCASA has an increase in their operating cost because they have to pay for trash pickup, it will cost taxpayers more money needs to be explained. How would that happen?
Michael, sorry for misunderstanding your comments, but that's what I gleaned from them.
I don't want another bill, so if they go to this, they better make it easy for us. The city's billing process is antiquated and annoying.
As far as this goes, I love how people agree to something without even seeing the numbers. I will wait to agree or disagree with something until I'm given all of the facts. It would make me chuckle to find out that some of the people on here who are in favor of this change, will actually be paying more for the service than they currently are.
Wife and I do not generate enough waste to fill a 95 gallon tote nor enough recyclable items to fill a 65 gallon tote. I DON'T HAVE SPACE TO STORE 2 LARGE TOTES AROUND MY HOUSE AND DO NOT WANT THESE UNSIGHTLY GARBAGE BINS. Next thing you know I will have neighbors complaining I am degrading the neighborhood. I don't see anything wrong with what we have presently. Why create a problem when there is no problem to begin with.
Glad someone agrees with me, Ted! I have a duplex, but the one side is empty and has to stay that way for the foreseeable future. So would I get billed for 2 totes and 2 recyclable containers even though I would only use one? I LIKE the system we have now. I have a garbage can in my backroom, lined with a large garbage bag. Easy peazy on Tuesday nights to pull it from the can and haul the bag to the parkway. With totes, I'd either have to leave it in the front of the house, or move the cars from the driveway so I could haul the tote down the driveway to the parkway. How ridiculous is it that I would have to put 2 cars in the road at night just so I could haul my trash bin out? Then in the morning after it's dumped, I'd get to do that all over again. Not everyone has a place for these ugly monstrosities.
I agree with Dennis that this is a thinly disguised method of indirectly increasing the amount of operating revenue for the local govenment without raising taxes. I doubt that you would see your annual tax bill decrease if this service was parsed out and paid directly by the home owner.
Whatever side of the issue you are on, this is not a revenue maker for the city. Even with the present system, the city does not make money, it goes to pay ARC, as it should.
And who knows, with the state mandated retirement contributions going up for the city next year, union negotiated pay raises and increased medical coverage cost, I'd be happy if we break even with no increase.
To me it is a back door revenue maker. Citizens get the privilege of paying of paying individually for trash pickup with no decrease in taxes. Sure sounds like the government putting money in one of my pockets and then taking it out the other. Common government practice.
I agree with you, Ted. I have no faith that this will lower anything in my wallet.
I see this as the city will create a new fee, then use the money it was paying for the current service to give someone else a raise.
Again, where are the facts?
That's what I said about the School Board when it taxed my cell phone.
Long before my time, John, but you were probably right to think so, and if you would like to help show me how to make up the already shrinking revenue, I will be more than happy to fight to repeal it. :-)
Start with cutting the Admin position of Curriculum Development. Freeze Admin pay for 3 years and go to per diem security. Cap teacher pay at $80,000. Just thoughts.
There is no CD position, John. You're about three years late for that. I'm not exactly sure what "admin" is to you, but if you are referring to our Super ang principal type positions, we are about to save a great deal of money there with Margaret's retirment and the Deputy position being eliminated. We have cut more than a few positions over the years.
We cannot "cap" a salary at whim. It has to be agreed upon, and staff salary costs have actually stayed flat for the past five years. The revenues have dropped, while mandated costs such the rertirement funds have gone up by hundreds of thousands each year.
Again, John, I invite you to become an ambassador, so you can fully see all of the costs! Please come out! Hear, and ask questions.
I know union salary related items are subject to union negotiations. And I hope you publicly fight to cap teacher pay. you can also fight to end the higher than average rate paid for substitute teachers if they are retired from the district and cut back on the amount paid for chaperons. You can fight to have pay for extra activities separate from base pay to cut back on retirement costs.
Are public comments at School Board meetings at the beginning of the meetings like City Council and before any Executive Session meetings?
Glad to see you are not against per diem security.
If you know anything about union contract negotiations, you know you can't publicly fight anything. As a matter of fact if you discuss anything that is being negotiated you can be sued for negotiating in bad faith, which will cost the district a ton, so that's out. Second, last year we reported that we reduced our substitute costs by more than half, and the issue that you have with higher rates was a part of an incentive for retirement that has actually saved our district hundreds of thousands, so that's not it.
Schedule C, which is activities, is already separate, so that's out as well.
Yes, public comments are in the beginning, and all Executive Sessions are held at the end of meetings.
So will you come out to budget ambassadors?
Nobody ever gets a "free" tote container. The taxpayers pay for them. So, if you pay property taxes on the city of Batavia, you would have the distinct privilege of paying for YOUR REQUIRED tote but also your share of the tax levy for the totes of all of those people renting in the city of Batavia. Of course, people move, totes get lost or stolen and the city (read:taxpayers) is/are eternally buying totes. I will buy my own refuse containers thank you. Taxes never go down. Why anyone would want to start paying a fee for a service already covered by our tax levy, while initiating a brand new tote purchase initiative by the city and potentially putting hard working disabled citizens from ARC out of work totally baffles me. By the way, has anyone bothered to consider the inherent costs of billing, processing payments and collections on delinquent accounts? How long before we have to hire another city employee to handle the extra work load? What next, government issued toilet paper (every family allowed 1 roll per week) so that we flush only only our fair share of human waste to the Wastewater treatment plant? Dear God, please save me from the helping hand of the government.
Thank you, Jim! That is all I was saying! There are no facts to the program, just a high level concept, and everyone is jumping on.
Not sure. I very well might be helping one or two people run for the School Board and not too sure how that would work out.
Maybe you can bring us up to date. When the last school budget was passed and with one school closed, it was suggested that there could be up 20 less people working for the district. How many positions were cut and how many, if any, were laid off (if you know)?
So schedule c pay does not go on the base salary for the final average pay for retirement? Thanks for that update.
You helping someone run for school board should be even more reason for you to be there. That way you can help them with real facts. Quoting incorrect statistics will just make your candidates look fool hardy.
I'm not sure the spread off the top of my head, but I ask that question for you. I believe the number was 21, but I will confirm.
Schedule C is an additional pay. It does not average into anything. Like any pay, taxes, FICA, 401K, ERS ,etc by law has to be figured in. To not include would be against the law.
While being helpful, what are the plans, if any, for the North Street extension property?
We are finishing the sale of Washington first, then we will discuss North St.
Obviously we are looking ways to increase our revenues!
john,i missed something....is not the topic about garbage totes? clue me in to what you and phil are talking about....no,never mind.....send him an email...
The RPF for carts includes the anticipated need for replacement parts. Darn, really wish I would have gotten into the plastic wheel and axle business now.
Correct me if I'm wrong but do you think the absent landlords in this community are going to pay for this system. No dam way this means trash piled along side every house in the community at least the 65% of the HUD homes because there is no waiver from hud to pay for trash hell can't even get most rentals to take their trash out now let alone bring their cans in off the street. Always someone comes up with some new system, I agree their is no room at this property for that dumpster. Cant wait to see the streets lined with those in front of all the lazy peoples houses that choose to make our neighborhoods look like trash. Wake up people you really think taxes are going to reverse because you get a personal dumpster ? No freaking way the overtime the inspectors create siting every lazy person who don't cooperate will be taking any savings. WAKE UP I pay way to many taxes but this tax creates jobs I actually see and it is my bet a lot of these workers shop more than most residents do in our community as I am told the ARC residents have spend down limits their only allowed to have a certain amount of savings so they have to spend $$ more often than most, we can't afford that $$ loss.
One more issue every Monday nite we have every scrap man from all over western ny. riffling our trash making a mess I thought we were going to stop this activity I watch them stealing every piece of metal on our street isn't that the taxpayers money?
One last question...If this service goes into effect, do I have to participate?
That is to say, right now I pay taxes and my garbage gets picked up. If that service becomes a pay for service fee, and I can find it for less, can I opt out?