SUMMIT COUNTY TRASH HAULING CONTRACT UP FOR RENEWAL

Seth Darby

Summit County's waste collection contract with Republic Services will expire at the end of June 2022. The deadline may seem far off, but the nature of the trash industry's economics is such that the superintendent must start thinking about the new contract now. 

Tim Loveday, Summit County's landfill superintendent, is looking for a new contract that better serves Summit County and its residents. He is already working with the county's legal department on drafting the new agreement. 

“There's a lead time on getting garbage trucks right now,” Loveday explained in a recent press conference. 'It takes about a year.” This timespan sheds light on why Park City needs to figure out its next trash hauling contract sooner rather than later. Whichever contractor the county selects will need time to secure the necessary equipment for trash collection. For the bidding to be fair so that a new contractor stands a chance at beating out Republic Services, the contract award will need to go out “a year in advance at minimum,” according to Loveday.

Has the county entertained the possibility of an in-house trash service? Loveday says yes, but the upfront costs are too expensive to make sense from a budgeting perspective. “It's very expensive upfront to do that," says Loveday, noting that the county could have saved money after a seven-year timeframe.

If all goes well, Loveday plans to have a proposed contract ready to present to the County Council this October. He hopes that by early 2022, they'll be ready to open the floor for contract bids. He expects there will be just four firms in the final running for the contract. 

In other trash collection news, the trash fee consumers pay per residence has gone up to $40. The fee was previously $36. Loveday says that fee collection, handled by Republic Services, has gone well overall. The only real issue has been residents who own homes in the county but are out of town seasonally, either during the winter or the summer months. These residents suspend their mail in the offseason. “We're trying to get second addresses for those, but that's a very difficult process for us,” Loveday explains. 

The trash hauling contract with Republic Services costs the county about $3.2 million a year. Trash hauling fees for residents bring in about $750,000 annually in revenue. As Loveday notes, the curbside collection continues to have “a huge subsidy.” 

Waste collection in Summit County operates as two separate programs. The landfill program is an Enterprise fund, which runs like a business. The goal is to break even, neither losing money nor making a profit. “We're about there,” says Loveday. “We've actually been in the black the last couple years, but at least it's not losing money.” 

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