Single-hauler compromise may be in play, Paradise Valley officials say

It was standing-room only last night at Paradise Valley Town Hall as residents, proponents and detractors debated the merits of a single-hauler contract before town council. (Independent Newsmedia/Terrance Thornton)

The great single-hauler trash debate in the Town of Paradise Valley may be over as town officials now contemplate allowing two companies to pick up trash within the town.

Paradise Valley Town Council is expected to host a study session Thursday, Feb. 8 on what now appears to be the prospect of a dual-hauler provision that could ultimately lead to the issuance of two local licenses for trash and recycling outfits instead of one.

That meeting will occur 3 p.m. at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

The prospect of approving a single-hauler con tract hit an impasse following an impassioned public hearing Thursday, Jan. 25 that left many in attendance scratching their heads.

Paradise Valley Town Council voted against the current single-hauler contract with Republic Services by a 4 to 3 measure, citing the poor merits of the negotiated contract.

Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins and council members David Sherf and Julie Pace voted for a contract they all agreed could be better. Vice Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner along with members Paul Dembow, Scott Moore and Mark Stanton voted against the measure.

Councilman Stanton offered a motion after the fact, which passed by a 4 to 3 vote, that will allow town staff to continue negotiations with Republic Services after new information came to light regarding the tenets of other single-hauler contracts with more favorable terms.

However, on Thursday, Feb. 1, Mayor Collins and Councilman Sherf penned a letter to the Independent alerting residents to the prospect of a compromise to be struck this coming week.

Paradise Valley Town Council last month discussed the parameters of negotiated terms for a seven- year, single-trash-hauler contract won by Republic Services. The action followed a bid process evaluated by a five-person panel at Town Hall, which as it turns out, only included one town resident.

The Town of Paradise Valley historically has a free-market system offering residents the ability to choose their own trash hauler.

Proponents of the single-hauler contract say fewer trash trucks will save money as streets will last longer, the environment will be better for it and the neighborhood nuisance of multiple trash trucks will be a thing of the past.

Trash outfits presently providing service in the Town of Paradise Valley include Area Disposal, Right Away Disposal, Republic Services, Scott Waste Services and Waste Management.

Every few years the idea of how trash is collected and carried away from the Town of Paradise Valley permeates through the minds of elected leaders. The latest discussion began with an April 2016 Community Conversation.

In October the town changed an ordinance, which precipitated the issuance of a formal bid for one company to take over the municipal rubbish needs.

Over the past 30 days, Paradise Valley residents have not been shy about expressing their points of view regarding trash and recycling pick-up service within town limits.

This is what residents had to say most recently:

Trash is a complex
issue; not simple

For every complex problem, there is a simple answer that is wrong.

I recently attended a public meeting at the Town of Paradise Valley regarding the subject of a “single” trash hauling vendor. The meeting was interesting, however, it showed that the work provided by the town staff was incomplete and inaccurate. The outcome of the meeting provoked additional questions.

Traffic: The staff indicated a reduction of 70 percent traffic with the use of a single vendor. This calculation is obviously wrong unless there is a dramatic drop in the volume of trash produced by the town. An accurate calculation results in an 8 percent decrease in garbage hauler traffic due to non- overlap of routes.

Noise: The staff indicated there will be a dramatic reduction in noise given the reduction of trash hauling traffic. Physicists and engineers will tell you that noise from truck traffic is both sonic and seismic. In addition, to hearing large trucks, you “feel” the vibrations from their movement and weight. The seismic waves are much more disconcerting feeling albeit most individuals do not realize what is irritating their senses.

I am not certain that staff understand that to truly reduce noise, you have to address vehicle weight and road surface in addition to other attributes of the truck. Reducing the maximum weight of garbage trucks to 35,000 pounds and repaving the streets with rubberized asphalt will dramatically reduce the noise levels. Apparently, no one on the TPV staff asked ADOT for its suggestions. A single hauler using 60,000-pound trucks will not solve the noise problem.

Road damage: The only way to reduce road damage is to reduce the weight of the trash trucks and mandate single rear axle vehicles. The majority of the damage occurs where multi-rear axle vehicles (with tag axles) have to turn or circle in cul-de-sac locations.

Mandating a cap on vehicle weight and single rear-axle trucks will dramatically reduce road damage. Smaller vehicles are also able to stop and maneuver better in order to safely navigate the small TPV streets.

Two days a week, I watch a 60,000-pound truck back down our cul-de-sac because it was determined by the town that the size of the truck required a three-point turn to navigate the street.

Our street has families with small children … it is only a matter of time until there is an accident. Additional cameras, as proposed, will only record the tragedy.

Safety: One of the council members articulated during the council response that she was concerned with safety. The town staff did not address this issue, such as limiting truck speed on residential streets.

Customer Service: As a business owner in Fountain Hills — and a resident of TPV — I have watched an employee attempt to contact Republic Services. They were on hold for 25plus minutes before they hung up. I have contracted with Area Services for my trash and always have the phone answered on the third ring.

Unfortunately, I am not confident in the TPV staff will be an adequate backup given I rarely reach anyone when I call into the Town Hall.

As the chairman of the Arizona Small Business Association Public Policy Committee I am disturbed at the council’s callus attempt to push out small businesses to entertain a single large business. The last thing this town and each council person needs is to be considered as “anti- small business.”

The RFP is poorly written. In fact I suspect it was written by a lobbyist for one of the large trash carriers. It is incomplete and does not correct any of the points that the staff has listed as potential benefits of a single trash carrier.

In fact, one of the final slides presented at the meeting illustrated that Fountain Hills negotiated a much better contract than Paradise Valley.

As I indicated at the top, this is a complex issue and there is good reason why previous town councils have left this issue alone. The best option for the town is to drop this initiative. If the town citizens want this, then the RFP should be re-written and the initiative should be put to a vote of the people.

This is a duly elected council with the powers to make this change regardless of the will of the people.
We have an election approaching this summer and the people of this town should consider the decisions made by the council and remove the members of council that choose to take the vote away from the citizens.

Andy Hann
Paradise Valley

Big business spurs
strange bedfellows

First, the analogy.

If an independent panel were busy selecting to buy either Boeing or Airbus airliners for an airline it would not look good if Boeing won the contract and it was subsequently determined that one of the panelists was a former senior executive at Boeing. Correct?

Republic Services won a contract to provide waste removal services for the entire Paradise Valley and one of the panelists was a former senior executive at Republic.

Does that look good?

The Paradise Valley council has tried hard to maintain its integrity over many years. Let’s keep everything transparent. This oversight needs to be corrected, we need to in the interests of ethics, transparency and conscientious government, nullify the current contract negotiations and start from square one.
The process was inadvertently tainted and needs to be done right. This is about procedure and the consequences, not Republic.

Bernard Kirk
Paradise Valley

Trash service ought
to go to public vote

After following the recent decision by the town council, news articles,opinions, and discussions with several existing service providers, it seems that the decision should be placed on a ballot for the residents to decide rather than the town council, who has had the assistance of a PR firm pushing the agenda.

After 30-plus years of services, provided by several different trash haulers, it has been an advantage for our family to negotiate the costs, keeping those privately provided services to a reasonable cost.

The council should let residents vote on the issue, as it appears there may be some impropriety present, especially if one follows the news articles in the TPV Independent, and does a little research. The reasoning behind the push for single hauler services just doesn’t make enough sense to impose higher prices for the town residents.

Mike Mercer
Paradise Valley

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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