Path to new Paradise Valley trash rules muddled

The Paradise Valley Town Council has been talking about trash and recycling regulations since January 2016. (photo by Melissa Fittro)

The Town of Paradise Valley appears to be in a quandary over whether or not to enter into a contract with a single trash hauler municipality wide.

The Town of Paradise Valley has for several years been discussing its unique situation in which residents had the option of choosing between one of five trash haulers.

If the council moves forward with only one provider, the change would be historic: Since the town first incorporated, residents have always had choices when it comes to their trash collection.

In a Sept. 14 study session, the Paradise Valley Town Council, town officials and a handful of concerned residents listened to Town Manager Kevin Burke explain the different avenues elected leaders could take to resolve its question of whether or not to limit options.

The discussion tended to boil down to two points: The pursuit of providing top-notch quality of life vs. the cost for trash service. Several council members cited the cost of their own trash bill during the discussion — ranging from $16 to over $150 per month.

The resurgence in the trash conversation dates back to January 2016 when council discussed quality of life issues — trash being one of the crucial topics that officials say has been an area in need of change for years.

Allowing several companies to service the trash needs in town, the argument went, meant more noise, more trucks and more wear and tear on town roads.

Earlier this summer the town issued an RFP for solid waste, recycling and specialty waste collection and disposal services in June.

The Paradise Valley Town Council during a study session at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive. (photo by Melissa Fittro)

The Sept. 14 study session gave council a chance to look at the overall RFP response and determine whether or not to continue pursuing the single-hauler concept.

Mr. Burke says proposals submitted by four companies were all similar in price.

“We had multiple factors obviously beyond price, but price was a key indicator of ‘is this really going to achieve outcomes that we hoped it would achieve?’” Mr. Burke asked of the RFP proposals.

The four haulers who responded to the RFP: Curbside Recycling & Disposal; Right Away Disposal; Republic Services; and Waste Management.

Going with a single-hauler serving the town, Mr. Burke predicts, could save residents about $1 per month over a five-year contract.

The estimated cost for one collection per week ranges between $17.63 and $29.97, and twice per week service ranges between $27.60 and $41.22.

The estimates also include household hazardous waste, shredding and Christmas tree pick-up, Mr. Burke said.

Mr. Burke said a quick survey of Town commission and board members showed their current trash bill range between $23 and $45 for once-per-week service; and $16-$79 for twice-per-week service.

The respondents didn’t specify any specialty services or if they were hillside residents or not, the town manager said.

While some council members focused on the cost of service — some expressing concern about increasing cost significantly — Mayor Michael Collins says price was never the initial concern when the municipality began this process.

“When this council — and the previously council — started to look at the idea of a single-hauler solution, it wasn’t a solution whose primary objective was to reduce costs for residents,” said Mayor Collins.

“Throughout the entire public process, which included a community conversation, the stated goals of this idea was to accomplish a series of objectives related to improving the quality of life of residents and reducing the impacts of the trash collection industry in our town. It impacts our roads, impacts air quality, impacts safety. So that was the focus of the council in evaluating this idea.”

The theory that garbage trucks can accelerate the deterioration of local thoroughfares has been commonly discussed in the council’s deliberations, but there is no hard-numbers to back it up, town officials say.

“I certainly understand the correlation between garbage trucks on the road and roadway wear,” Vice Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner said.

“If a roadway has five years of useful life, it may be in worse condition over that five years because of the trucks, but the maintenance may be costing similar — that could be wrong too, I don’t know — I haven’t seen an analysis that says ‘we can extend the roadways out three years on each roadway.’ We just haven’t done that, so I can’t factor that in besides anecdotally.”

Paul Dembow

Councilman Paul Dembow expressed his concern of raising the price on longtime residents who may be living on a fixed income.

“(In) our HOA we negotiated $16 a month for homeowners. It would be very difficult to say quality of life is increasing the cost by 174 percent for that $27.63,” Mr. Dembow explained.

“There are a lot of people on fixed income that have lived here for a while; this would be probably a much bigger dent.”

Ultimately, the town council decided to continue evaluating its options and return to the dais at a later date after reviewing the RFPs and continuing conversations with the trash haulers.

“I expected a little bit more of a ‘wow,’” Councilmember Mark Stanton said of the single-trash hauler prices. “I think I expected a little bit more of a solid ‘yeah I could go with this’ and I’m not there yet.”

The four proposals are expected to be evaluated and ranked by a committee of five people, including three staff, one resident and a representative from another municipality, the a town staff report stated.

News Services Editor Melissa Rosequist can be reached by e-mail at or follow her on Twitter at

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