Thursday, March 23, 2006
bids on garbage collection
Marshall County has solicited bids for household waste collection for the next three years. Bids are due in March 31.
Supervisors met with the countys new solid waste consultant, Environmental Business Services, EBS, in late February to draft up a bid package.
Supervisors all agreed they want the county out of collections for past due bills. And they want the contractor to pick up garbage at every household, regardless of whether the householder is current on his bill.
The countys contract with R.E.S. provides for collection of garbage at the estimated 11,000 households, but some 4,000 households do not pay, according to Chancery Clerk Chuck Thomas.
These (bills which the county collects) bring in about $17,000 a month by flagging tags, Thomas said.
Under its contract with R.E.S., the county is obligated to pay the company for customers who refuse to pay their garbage fees. The county then uses state legislative authority to collect past due bills by holding up purchase of vehicle registration tags until delinquent bills are paid. The system is estimated to collect about half of delinquent payments over time. The rest is paid out of county funds, ultimately by the tax paying public.
The bill for 4,000 households would come to $40,400 at $10.10 R.E.S. now charges per month per household. Subtracting the estimated $17,000 collected by the county per month, the countys price tag for delinquent bills would run the county $23,300 a month to R.E.S. or roughly $280,800 a year.
The uncollected monies ultimately are charged in millage to property owners. In past years the board of supervisors has set aside about $400,000 to cash flow the collection of delinquent fees. The county also has to hire someone to handle the paperwork, another cost to taxpayers.
Last year the board of supervisors set aside about $350,000 instead of $400,000 because the contract came up for renewal in June and supervisors were intent on not continuing to collect delinquency payments for the service provider under a new contract.
Jim McNaughton, with EBS, said the county will negotiate with the bidder to get the best rate for household garbage collection and he expects bids to come in higher, at the $12-$13 a month range, due to certain specifications supervisors are asking for.
The county is going to require the contractor to collect 100 percent of garbage (every household) and collect the fees themselves, McNaughton said. Say 30 percent of your people arent paying. The simple math is, those who do pay will have to pay 30 percent more.
DeSoto Countys household waste contract, McNaughton said, bills customers every three months in advance at a rate of $7 per household per month. The county pays about $3 per household per month for the landfill disposal cost. And DeSoto County assesses about 1.5 mill in ad valorem tax for the disposal.
DeSoto Countys contractor does not collect the garbage at households that do not pay their bills, he said.
McNaughton said the successful bidder on the countys upcoming contract will probably have to offset their inability to collect 100 percent of the money by raising the monthly service fee.
So the bidder will probably push hard to get a little more to offset his collection costs, McNaughton said.
He thinks supervisors are wise to discontinue collections of delinquent bills.
It is a good move on the part of supervisors to have the contractor to collect fees. It should be easier for them to try to collect that money, McNaughton said.
Some other provisions the board of supervisors are asking for include:
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