Another three years with Waste Management?
By Cheryl McCormack
Continue with Waste Management or sign a contract with one of their competitors – that is the decision Washburn City Commissioners must make in the coming months.
Paul Kalibabky, Waste Management, presented a three-year extension contract to commissioners at Monday night’s meeting, noting a 3-percent service increase to "keep up with inflation" and adequately pay drivers.
Commissioners seized the opportunity to voice their concerns with the services Waste Management provides the city; issues related to garbage collection have come up several times in previous commission meetings.
Commissioner Larry Thomas said his biggest concern is "too heavy" waste trucks being allowed on city streets during load restrictions in the spring. Kalibabky said Waste Management prefers to "pack out" each truck for economic reasons, but are willing to haul half loads with their automatic truck during the time of year when roads are most vulnerable. "Garbage collection is a necessary service and we do the best we can," Kalibabky said.
When asked if a rear load garbage truck, with totes being lifted and emptied by Waste Management personnel, is lighter and less detrimental to the streets, Kalibabky replied that they are trying to do away with that system due to risk of injury to employees. He noted Washburn has 480 garbage totes, which would require a lot of lifting.
Making one pass on the street with garbage totes located on only one side was also discussed. Commissioner Kit Baumann said, "I know it’s only one day of the week, but constantly putting all of the weight on one side of the street will tear up the streets faster than going from side to side." Thomas replied, "That’s a theory, I guess."