By Chase Kamp
The Superior council voted on a new trash services agreement with Republic Services at its regular meeting on Apr. 4 that scraps weekly curb-side recycling service in favor of twice-weekly trash pickup. Proponents of the recycling program were dismayed, though councilmembers said the effort was not working and that the new contract will result in trash bills about $8 lower every month.
Town manager K. Kane Graves said Republic Services would be taking over billing for trash services, trash pickup would be returning to twice a week and there will no longer be curbside recycling.
The agreement passed 4 – 3 with Mayor Jayme Valenzuela and councilmembers John Tameron and Irene Hansen voting nay.
Councilmember Chris Tomerlin said he was advised by town leadership that the deal with Republic was a good one. “Talking to different people, it was an outstanding deal that we got,” he said. “I believe we got the best deal available for the town. It would have been nice if recycling paid for itself, but it’s unfortunate that it didn’t happen.”
Explaining his nay vote, Tameron said he was unable to read the contract and elected not to vote in favor of it.
The town gave Republic Services an exclusive negotiation period to pitch a new contract, Tomerlin explained.
He said he supported the recycling program, but after two years, it was not paying for itself. “The residents that weren’t utilizing recycling were still using it as second trash bin,” he said. “It got to the point where our recycling got taken to the landfill anyway.”
Sue Anderson with the Superior Chamber of Commerce, who helped push the program when it first began, said she received little indication from the town that there was a problem.
Superior used to have large roll-off bins for recycling placed around the town, she explained. Based on that success, Allied Waste furnished the curb-side barrels and began pick-up.
“Many hours over several years were spent putting a recycling program together and it’s suddenly gone with very little explanation,” Anderson said.
Tameron said Republic Waste drivers would get out of truck and check recycling, he said, wasting a lot of time checking many of the cans. “There was too much garbage for once a week pickup, so people put it in the recycling and contaminating it,” he said.
“I’m big on recycling and I’m going to work on something with the Town Manager and Republic to get some kind of recycling program,” he said.
Tomerlin also hoped to re-implement recycling at some point. “Maybe we can go back to having the bins around town so that those residents who want to participate can do so,” he said.