WEST HAVEN — Leaders in West Haven have approved an ordinance requiring residents to have their trash collected by a city-contracted hauler, bringing to a close — almost — a debate that has been simmering in the city.
“The trash wars have been the biggest issue this year,” City Councilperson Nina Morse joked on Thursday.
City Manager Matt Jensen said the ordinance approved by the West Haven City Council on Wednesday represents a “paradigm shift” for the growing city as it moves toward selection of a single hauler to handle garbage collection. That’s the norm in most other Weber County cities.
As is, West Haven residents have contracted directly with haulers to collect their trash. But with the city negotiating a contract for the entire city, proponents say hauling rates will fall for most. Using a single hauler instead of having several companies collecting throughout the city also reduces wear and tear on streets because fewer trucks are needed to handle the work, Jensen said.
By contracting with a single hauler, Jensen estimated monthly fees for homes with one trash can will likely range from $11-$13, a reduction of 10%-30% for most customers. “It adds up,” he said.
Some customers, though, prefer using dumpsters because of the trash they generate, which delayed formulation of a resolution. Others like being able to pick their own haulers, another sticking point.
Three firms have submitted bids to handle the service in West Haven — Republic Services, Waste Management and Robinson Waste Services. Jensen hopes the council makes a selection at its Nov. 18 meeting.
Still, the new service wouldn’t start right away. Jensen estimated it might not begin until February or April, giving customers time to get out of the contracts with their existing haulers without penalty.
The new ordinance contains a provision aimed at those who generate more trash, using dumpsters instead of trash cans. Residential lots measuring 0.8 acres or larger may opt-out of the mandatory service outlined in the new ordinance and contract on their own for dumpster service. That resolved one of the stickier issues in the debate.
The change contains no contingency for recycling.
“There’s really not a lot of push for it,” Morse said. She hopes officials eventually take up the issue, though.