City awards contract with Rugby Santitation
Rugby Sanitation, Inc., has provided residential garbage collection for the city of Rugby for three-plus decades, but its next contract could be its last if the company doesn’t implement some added services, some Rugby city council members said at their Dec. 8 meeting.
The council voted 7-1 to award the local company a one-year contract, beginning in January. Councilman Monte Schneibel cast the lone dissenting vote.
That decision came moments after a rare 4-4 vote had to be broken by Mayor Dale Niewoehner to determine whether a contract should be awarded to Waste Management, Inc., of Minot. Niewoehner joined council members Terry Wentz, Bill Hartl, Jim Hoffert and Gerry Jacobson in voting no. Council members Schneibel, Dave Bednarz, Bruce Rheault and Steve Brossart voted for entering a contract with WM.
WM’s bid was lower
The decision by the council to again enter into a contract with Rugby Sanitation didn’t come down to price or services. Actually, Waste Management’s proposal offered weekly garbage curbside pickup at $13.25 a month ($4 a month cheaper than Rugby Sanitation’s bid), and WM offered such services as curbside pickup of large items such as water heaters, furniture and small appliances. And WM would provide, at no charge a 96-gallon container for each residence. As part of the contract, WM said it would agree to pay the city of Rugby to handle its billing of monthly garbage collection.
Ward Four councilman Schneibel made the motion to go with WM, pointing out how residents would gain more sanitation services, including the ability to throw out large items at any time of year. Schneibel acknowledged the long-standing arrangement the city has had with the locally-owned Rugby Sanitation business, but said it was hard to ignore what WM brings to the table, including a significant savings compared to Rugby Sanitation.
Schneibel mentioned that a few months ago a farmer came forward, expressing frustration with furniture, scrap wood, large branches and other debris ending up in his ditch — items that clearly came from town, but someone chose to dump them in a ditch and avoid paying a fee, or avoid the hassle of having to make arrangements to have them taken to the landfill south of town. Schneibel said at that time the council said it would look into what it could do to remedy this problem.
Awarding the contract to WM would go a long way toward solving it, Schneibel said, as residents could set most items on the boulevard to be picked up at no charge. Now they have to wait for the spring pickup, and yet some of those items can’t be hauled away without additional fees.
Gerry Jacobson, Ward Two councilman, said this was an extremely difficult decision to make, citing the WM proposal would give residents additional services. However, Rugby Sanitation has been a long-time partner with the city, and he believes the company should get one year to develop changes in its business plan to provide additional services residents now know WM is providing other communities. Bill Hartl, Ward Three councilman, shared those same feelings.
Jacobson told Renae Beeter, WM representative, who was at the meeting, it’s a tough decision to turn down their contract. Beeter thanked city officials for the opportunity to bid for sanitation services for residents.
The members of the finance committee reviewed the two bids provided and after two meetings still did not come up with a recommendation prior to the Dec. 8 meeting. This was the first time the council has called for bids for the city’s residential garbage contract. A move that is required under law.
New contract starts in January
Rugby Sanitation’s new contract will take effect next month. Residents will be charged $17.50 a month for residential garbage pickup.
The company will continue to offer compost containers for yard debris and will make arrangements to haul large items to its landfill just south of town for a fee; or will allow residents to haul items on their own to the landfill for a fee.
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