trash

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Facing a 25 percent rate increase from Republic Services, Alpharetta city leaders are scheduled to consider seeking bids on a new residential waste hauler.

The issue is scheduled for discussion at the March 1 regular City Council meeting.

The city is looking for proposals from sanitation companies interested in providing trash, recycling and yard waste collection to the city’s nearly 24,000 households.

The city’s contract with Republic expires March 31. Alpharetta has contracted its residential solid waste collection services to Republic Services — formerly BFI — since December 1999, with the original contract modified six times over the past 20 years. The company has notified Alpharetta that it is unable to continue providing the services without increasing rates by 25 percent.

“Our research into the rates for solid waste collection in surrounding communities does indicate, to some degree, that the rates Republic Services is currently charging our residents may be below market,” said Alpharetta’s Finance Director Tom Harris. “Still, we have a responsibility to our residents to get the best value, that is the best combination of service quality and cost possible. The best way to do that is for us to seek bids on the open market so that the providers have to compete for our business.”

The city’s contract with Republic does allow for annual rate increases, but the company has rarely exercised that right. Now, however, company executives indicate that escalating costs related to fast growing tipping fees, COVID-19 safety measures and other market conditions combined with reduced revenue from recyclable materials makes it impossible for them to maintain service to Alpharetta residents without the rate increase.

City staff is preparing the request for proposals that would open the market for other haulers but is advising the City Council that a temporary extension of the contract with Republic Services will be necessary to ensure residents have uninterrupted service until a new collection company can be found.

As recommended, the contract would be extended for a maximum of one year; however, the city could cancel the contract at any time with a 60-day notice.

 “Unfortunately, the extension of the contract will come with an increase in the rates our residents pay for solid waste collection services,” Harris said.

Not only that, but nine neighborhoods will have new collection dates beginning March 15.

The change is being made as Republic Services deploys smaller vehicles to operate in neighborhoods with narrow access.

“Several neighborhoods in Downtown Alpharetta have been developed with narrow streets and wide sidewalks to create a pedestrian-focused environment that places less emphasis on automobiles,” Alpharetta Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard said.  “That design poses challenges for the standard trash and recycling trucks that are used to serve the suburban, cul-de-sac neighborhoods that are the predominate form in the community.”

The impacted neighborhoods are: Avalon, Canton Street Commons, East of Main (excluding Belle Isle Drive), Folia Old Milton, Foundry, Georgia at the Garden District, Rowes Downtown, The Maxwell and Voysey.

Seventeen individual addresses will also be affected.

A complete list of the affected addresses can be downloaded from the City of Alpharetta website by visiting https://bit.ly/2P9XCdb 

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