Three-month emergency trash plan approved
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
6/19/12 at 12:17 PM
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Tulsa's trash board approved a three-month emergency trash collection program Monday because the city's current hauler is unable to continue beyond its June 30 contract expiration.
The program to run from July through September involves once-a-week trash collection for all households, a cheaper monthly rate, different service days and a suspension of recycling pickup.
Tulsa Refuse Inc., the hauling consortium that has conducted the bulk of the city's service for more than 30 years, had originally agreed to continue the current level of service at the current rate until Oct. 1.
That's when the winning bidder for the new contract, NeWSolutions, is set to launch a volume-based system.
But trash board chairwoman Cheryl Cohenour said TRI's diminished manpower and equipment problems will keep it from continuing during the summer months. A contract was never signed.
Cohenour also confirmed that TRI asked for more money at the last minute but would not give any details. The consortium would have made $900,000 per month at its current rate.
NeWSolutions will conduct the abbreviated service program under a three-month contract until the fall, when the new collection system and the new 10-year contract will begin as scheduled.
"I'm sure we will have some hiccups," Cohenour said during Monday's special meeting. "We'll just have to deal with them."
The summertime trash program affects roughly 90,000 households with twice-a-week collection that have been serviced by TRI. The city's northwest quadrant, with about 25,000 houses, will continue to have its usual once-a-week trash service conducted by city crews until Oct. 1.
The monthly rate will go from $13.44 in the TRI area to $10.52 to match the rate in the northwest quadrant.
The accompanying map details which section of the city will have which collection day beginning July 2. The collection days will not change again under the new system in the fall.
For the northwest quadrant, its collection days will remain the same until Oct. 1 when it will have Wednesday as its service day.
Backyard and extended backyard service for extra charges will continue for those who have them under the temporary program.
The recycling suspension impacts the entire city as all of it was done by TRI. Officials are encouraging the use of the Metropolitan Environmental Trust recyclable drop-off sites in the interim.
Recycling collection will resume as the trash and recycling carts start being delivered July 16 at a rate of about 12,000 to 15,000 households per week.
They were ordered for the new volume-based system but can be used as residents receive them.
Tulsa's City Council is expected to vote on ordinance changes Thursday to govern the emergency program.
Councilor David Patrick, who is a member of the trash board, said he hopes everything goes as smoothly as possible.
"Our Option A went south on us, but this Option B is a good plan," he said.
The TRI consortium of 40 or so haulers suffered a major manpower blow last month when the city pulled the license of one of its largest members.
The hauler, First Choice Refuse Control Inc., allegedly tried to pass off suburban waste as city residential waste for disposal at rate-payer expense.
The trash board pays disposal costs for waste from Tulsa residences, but the haulers who also handle suburban and commercial routes must pay for the disposal of that trash themselves.
Other haulers in the TRI consortium have had to absorb the 6,200 Tulsa households that were being serviced by First Choice.
The 90-day summertime program only became necessary earlier this year when the trash board - formally known as the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy - delayed the start date of the new contract from July 1 to Oct. 1.
It did not award the hauling contract until mid-February to NeWSolutions, which then needed time to order its equipment and prepare to take over the service. The board also needed time to order the carts that will be used.
Originally, the board planned to award the contract in July 2011, giving the new hauler a full year to prepare.
But the bidding process took longer than board members expected. And the board also had to cope with the filing of a lawsuit by TRI that was later withdrawn when the board agreed to let the consortium continue servicing the city during the summer.
Trash service timeline
Until June 30: The TRI area of the city with about 90,000 households has twice-a-week curbside trash collection as its base service for $13.44 per month. The northwest quadrant with about 25,000 households has once-a-week curbside collection with carts as its base service for $10.52 per month. Recycling is picked up by TRI haulers for $2 per month for houses across the city that opt into the program.
July 2 to Sept. 30: NeWSolutions will conduct a once-a-week curbside service for the former TRI area with households paying $10.52 per month. The northside quadrant will continue its current service by city crews. Recycling will be suspended until the trash and recycling carts for the new system start to be delivered in mid-July at a rate of up to 15,000 households per week. As they arrive, residents can start using them, but also can continue to set out trash outside the carts at no extra charge.
Oct. 1: The entire city will be serviced by NeWSolutions. The base service will be once-a-week, curbside collection with each household receiving two 96-gallon carts: one for trash and one for recycling. The rate will be $15.52 per month. Smaller-size trash carts will be available for cheaper rates. Recycling will be included in the system but not mandatory. To set out more trash than fits into the trash cart will require the purchase of special stickers to put on overflow trash bags. Additional services and twice-a-week collection will be available to customers for extra charges. Green waste and bulky waste will be collected under separate programs and for different fees by city crews.
Have questions? Call the city's trash hotline: 918-596-9777
Original Print Headline: Interim trash deal approved
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
TARE board member and Tulsa city councilor David Patrick comments during a special TARE board meeting, to finalize details for the interim refuse service from July 2012 to September 2012. Taken on Monday. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
TARE chairwoman Cheryl Cohenour speaks Monday during a special TARE board meeting to finalize details for the interim refuse service from July to September. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World