A Foth Infrastructure and Environment report expected to go before the Nebraska City City Council on Feb. 4 suggests placing garbage collection bills on the city utility bills and charging every household with a meter for garbage collection.
The consultant was asked to evaluate the city's current garbage collection systems and help the city prepare for the expiration of its franchise agreement with Waste Connections in August of 2014.
The consultant says requiring every household to have collection service will discourage illegal dumping, whether it's in commercial dumpsters or along county roads.
It also says that having more customers should reduce costs for the current paying customers.
The consultant also recommends:
- Minimum service requirements in a new contract
- Cart system allows for higher fees for larger carts
- Public awareness campaign for recycling
- Free leaf and grass composting
The consultant says a single provider for residential collection is most efficient, but said the city might consider allowing competition for the 261 commercial customers.
"This is particularly troubling when they are not able to 'shop' for a different contractor and at least see if there couldn't be an improvement in service and pricing," the Foth report says.
"There was also a great deal of interest in having the city charge for residential garbage collection by putting it on the monthly utility bill," the report says.
Foth conducted interviews with city officials, Allied Refuse officers, large waste producers and citizens.
The report indicates that common themes are high costs compared to service and low participation in recycling.
Allied reports a total of 87 recycling customers, about 3 percent of the total households.
The report indicates that some citizens have doubts about the destination of materials separated as recyclable. Allied reports that recyclables are taken to First Star Recycling in Omaha.
Foth recommends additional recycling materials to match the materials currently accepted at the single-stream processing facility in Omaha.
There are 1,943 out of a possible 2,662 potential residential customers, which is 73 percent of households.
The consultant reports that annual residential revenue in Nebraska City can be estimated at $545,352 and commercial revenue at $446,736.
The transfer station's state permit allows for 120 tons a year, but Allied reports only 9,700 tons with about 6,000 tons coming from Nebraska City.
There are an estimated 147 tons of recyclables.
Nebraska City built the $1.5 million transfer station in 1995 and operated the transfer station until it was included in a seven-year franchise agreement with Waste Connections in 2000.
The city collected a monthly franchise fee of $7,000 and a monthly rent of the transfer station of $7,000, which generated $168,000 a year.
The expenses to finance the bonds for the transfer station were about $150,000 a year, but the transfer station has been paid off.Allied currently hauls garbage 73 miles to its G&P Development Landfill south of Milford, where tipping fees are $47 a per ton.
Page 2 of 2 - Foth reports that City Administrator Joe Johnson indicates that closer landfills may have lower dumping fees.
Foth suggests that the city should pursue a franchise agreement.
"For residential service, it has been proven repeatedly that having a single service provider collecting every household stop within a reasonable sized collection zone is the most cost effective and efficient approach," the report said.
The reasonable-sized collection zone would be the city of Nebraska City.Foth says the city could contract residential and commercial service separately.
The city could also contract the landfill separately and could contract the transfer station separately.
If bills are attached to the utility service, Foth says there should be a way for people to opt out of the service.
The consultant says residents may be required to show receipts from the transfer station indicating they took their garbage there on their own.