Paradise Valley Town Council candidates talk changes to waste services

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Voters will go to the Paradise Valley polls Tuesday, Aug. 30 to elect three members to town council while also electing a mayor.

Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins, who is running unopposed, is seeking re-election while four council candidates are seeking one of three seats. Paradise Valley council candidates are: Scott Moore, Julie Pace, Mark Stanton and Daran Wastchak.

To be elected at the primary, candidates must receive a majority of the total valid ballots cast. The town’s races will be consolidated with the county, state and federal races appearing on the same ballot and this year the municipality will not be holding an all-mail election, according to Town Clerk Duncan Miller.

In partnership with Cullum Homes and Rose, Moser & Allyn Public and Online Relations, the Town of Paradise Valley Independent is hosting a town council candidate forum at The Village at Mountain Shadows from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11.

The forum will be moderated by North Valley News Editor Terrance Thornton and will feature opening statements, a debate of local topics that matter and an opportunity for audience involvement.

This week’s question-and-answer installment asks council candidates what they think of the prospect of the municipality amending its long-standing trash and recyclable free-market system.

Paradise Valley Town Council hosted a community conversation event April 14 meant to allow town leaders and members of the general public to better understand concerns and trepidation about the existing rules governing trash haulers.

The Town of Paradise Valley has a free-market system offering residents the ability to choose their own trash hauler. Trash outfits providing service include Area Disposal, Right Away Disposal, Scott Waste Services, Republic Services and Waste Management. All trash haulers are required to obtain and maintain an annual license agreement with the municipality at a cost of $500.

Collection containers may be placed at the curb the night before collection day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and must be removed from the street and stored in a screened area by the end of the collection day, according to the town’s website.

Paradise Valley trash haulers are required to pick-up trash two times a week while recyclables have to be removed at least twice a month, according to town code.

This is what they had to say on the matter that will likely be decided sometime this fall:

Scott Moore

What do you think of the town’s current free-market system as it pertains to both trash and recycling services for local residents?

Scott Moore

Scott Moore

As a planning Commissioner I have been working with staff and fellow commissioners on a number of initiatives the council commissioned for us to review called the “Quality of Life” issues. Our role as commissioners is to define the scope and to quantify the desired outcomes.

Among these issues discussed is recycling and trash collection. Right now the Town of Paradise Valley has a free-market system offering residents the ability to choose their own trash hauler. A few of the providers serving the town include: Area Disposal, Republic Services and Waste Management.

The challenges we’re seeing in the Town with so many providers is:

  • Constant daily noise, many times beginning before 6 a.m.;
  • Containers placed on streets throughout the Town every day because providers use different days each week for scheduled pick up;
  • Safety concerns with trash trucks versus pedestrians;
  • The constant wear and tear on our streets is significant.

•As the town looks to possibly amend its existing system and potential service providers, do you think the town should pursue a single-carrier system gained through a formal bid process?

I think it’s definitely worth exploring, but I want to assure residents I don’t think the town should be looking to get into the sanitation business or creating a sanitation department. With that said, looking at possible solutions to the challenges we face by having multiple providers is a good thing.

Other municipalities have successfully found solutions by contracting with a single hauler for residential trash pickup. This solution keeps us out of the trash business and helps reduce daily noise, reduces safety concerns and helps minimize our annual asphalt and street maintenance costs by having less trucks on a daily basis. Residents are expected to see a reduction in fees based on the size of the contract with the town.

All of this could be accomplished without creating more overhead or government.

Daran Wastchak

•What do you think of the town’s current free-market system as it pertains to both trash and recycling services for local residents?

Daran Wastchak

Daran Wastchak

Many residents may recall that the town held a Community Conversation in April to discuss trash and recycling services in Paradise Valley.

Input from residents at that meeting appeared to be fairly well divided between those who want the current free-market system to continue without change and those who would prefer to see the town move to a single-hauler model. With some assistance from the town, but not a sweeping change towards a single hauler model, I believe there is a middle ground to be considered and very likely where we will end-up.

•As the town looks to possibly amend its existing system and potential service providers, do you think the town should pursue a single-carrier system gained through a formal bid process?

There are clear benefits of a single-hauler model, including reduced wear and tear on the streets from fewer trucks, which makes for reduced noise and increased safety. Many HOAs in Paradise Valley have collectively gone to a single hauler within their neighborhoods and realized a further benefit of cost savings, in some instances substantial savings. However, what’s good for some does not necessarily translate to what’s good for all.

Within a free-market system, moves can be made to gain similar benefits. In particular, the town can work with the private haulers to petition the county health department to allow trash pick-up one time per week rather than the current mandate of two pick-ups per week.

This simple move preserves the right of residents to have two pick-ups, while allowing those who only need one to have fewer trucks stopping at their house, reducing noise, increasing safety, and reducing cost. If the town were to facilitate a little coordination with the private haulers, it is possible to further reduce the frequency of trucks traveling in a neighborhood from every day of the week to possibly three or even two days per week. These are the practical solutions that I look forward to working on as a member of the town council.

Julie Pace

•What do you think of the town’s current free-market system as it pertains to both trash and recycling services for local residents?

Julie Pace

Julie Pace

It is good when our residents have free choice to make their own decisions about services. Residents currently choose their own refuse service and whether to recycle and handle billing.

As a community, however, the downside of having garbage trucks driving on our residential streets everyday adversely impacts the quality of life for our town by increasing wear and tear on streets, noise due to the frequency of garbage trucks in neighborhoods, and sight of garbage containers daily.

First, having five different trash haulers operating daily in neighborhoods costs more money in street maintenance on our town streets. One municipality study shows that limiting the number of garbage trucks on streets extends the useful life of the streets by 5 to 10 years. This factor alone saves our residents significant money.

Another study shows that garbage trucks stress the pavement more than 9,000 times as much as an SUV because of the stopping and starting and turning and backing up of the big heavy trucks. One city takes the volume discount a signal hauler achieves and has it paid back to city as a franchise fee and uses it towards road maintenance.

Second, residents have complained about the noise factor. Having different garbage company trucks operating daily on our streets means that residents and visitors hear the garbage truck daily instead of twice a week.

Third, many residents and resort guests do not want to see garbage cans on streets everyday. Limiting garbage pick up to specific days results in a couple of days a week with no garbage cans in front of residences in a neighborhood. These factors and potential cost savings are incentivizing the Town to evaluate options to improve the quality of life for all residents while saving monies and I applaud the dialogue.

•As the town looks to possibly amend its existing system and potential service providers, do you think the town should pursue a single-carrier system gained through a formal bid process?

I serve on Mayor Collins’ HOA Advisory Committee to learn and share ideas on preserving our quality of life. On behalf of our neighborhood, I attended and spoke at the town’s Community Conversation on garbage in April.

Our neighborhood supported pursuing a single-carrier system in our community to save monies on the wear and tear on streets, reduce noise by limiting frequency of trucks and changing time of pick-up because of reverberations off the mountains, improve aesthetics, and to capture volume discount pricing because of the savings that would result from economies of scale for a single hauler handling a section of our town.

I also saw an opportunity to enhance security for our residents if we went a single hauler in sections of our town and that is why I requested that any trash haulers approved by the town agree to have meetings twice a year with our town’s police department to train their drivers so that trash haulers can be an extra eyes and ears in our neighborhoods and report suspicious activity.

The town has opened the dialogue on talking trash and many neighbors seem to support a single hauler for their area. The town should issue a detailed RFP to trash haulers who will submit proposals if it proceeds with a single hauler option for one or more sections of our community.

The RFP needs to be thoughtful and include fine details to address concerns of residents in their respective neighborhoods.  The town controls the terms and the RFP needs to be done correctly to ensure a smooth transition for residents. Quality of service should be a selection criteria, as well as pre-qualifications for any company submitting an RFP. The RFP needs to include options for those neighbors who live on steep or narrow roads, which may require smaller vehicles.

Quality of life for our town involves many areas and refuse pick up is one that we should gather citizen input, ensure that neighborhood needs are met, and protect our streets to save money.  When issues like this arise, I commit to doing my homework, being fair, accessible, honest and fiscally conservative and will make decisions in the best interests of the town and its residents. I look forward to putting my experience to work for residents on these types of quality of life issues as a town council member.

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