Commission to continue trash collection talks

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — Updates to the garbage collection ordinance will be returning before the Piqua City Commission meeting for a fifth time during their next meeting Tuesday evening.

At their previous meeting, Commissioner John Martin requested a comparison between the cost of in-house trash collection and having an outside company collect the city’s trash.

The commission’s agenda for Tuesday’s upcoming meeting included a report breaking down the costs of having the city collect residents’ trash and comparing that with having outside companies provide that service.

The report argued that the city has saved money by collecting residents’ trash in-house rather than using an outside company, along with the argument that outside companies could not compete with the city’s costs to provide this service. According to the report, the city saved $2,014,538 from 2009 to 2016 with its in-house trash collection program. The report also noted that outside contractors would have to lower the bids that they provided 10 years ago by more than $326,000 per year to match the city’s cost of providing that service in-house.

The report also argued that the city would provide better customer service than an outside contractor. The report compared the calls for service from the time when the city used an outside contractor for recycling with the calls for service when the city staff took over collecting recycling. According to the report, there was an average of 22 calls for service per month with the outside contractor compared with the city’s current average of 7.8 calls for service per month with their in-house recycling program.

In regard to employees, if the city switched to using an outside contractor for trash collection, seven city employees could potentially lose their jobs. The Health and Sanitation Department employees are part of a collective bargaining unit, though, so they have bumping rights if they have seniority over employees in other departments, the report said. If those employees were moved to the street department, then the city would have to utilize $573,790 from the general fund to support those employees. Currently, those employees’ salaries are covered by user fees and do not use any money from the general fund.

The report also included a comparable city chart. Some of those include:

• For Piqua, with a population of approximately 20,906 people, the 2016 expenses for solid waste and recycling collection was $1,493,526. The chart also included the proposed monthly rate for residential customers at $19.35.

• For Marysville, with a population of approximately 23,406 people, the 2016 expenses were $1,470,201 using the company Republic Waste. The customers paid $21 per month with an extra $3.40 per month if they needed an extra cart.

• For Lebanon, with a population of approximately 20,651 people, the 2016 expenses were $1,372,450 using Rumpke. Customers paid $18.54 per month, and there was no bulk item service provided.

Other cities included Portsmouth, which provided an in-house collection service with 2016 expenses at $1,960,139 and a monthly rate of $20.50; Ashland’s in-house service with 2016 expenses at $1,539,953 and a monthly rate of $15.75; and Sidney’s collection provided by Republic Waste with 2016 expenses at $1,567,625 and a monthly rate of $19.38.

The ordinance in question seeks to phase in a new rate structure with minimal increases of approximately $1 for residential customers in order to provide trash carts to customers. The ordinance also updates language to the trash collection ordinance.

In other news, the commission will be considering a number of purchases, including two purchase orders for the city’s 2018 street and alley maintenance program.

The commission will also be voting on a purchase order for power load cots and loading kits for the Piqua Fire Department.

The commission will also be honoring the public service of Michael Thompson as a city employee.

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336