Trash collection in Paradise Valley likely headed to change

Paradise Valley Town Council appears to be gearing up to overhaul the community's free market trash collection system. (Independent Newsmedia/Terrance Thornton

Paradise Valley Town Council appears to be gearing up to overhaul the community’s free market trash collection system. (Independent Newsmedia/Terrance Thornton

The Town of Paradise Valley is seeking to change the way it handles its trash as it discussed a draft proposal for perceived improvements to trash collection during its Thursday, Sept. 8 study session meeting.

Among the many points in the plan, which is part of the quality of life initiative, Town Manager Kevin Burke proposed an ordinance to help improve the quality of life for its residence that would limit trash services to Tuesdays and Fridays, improve the quality of vehicles and bins.

The proposed ordinance would amend several articles in existence.

Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke

Additionally, Mr. Burke drafted a request for proposal in hopes of obtaining a single hauler, as opposed to its five contractors now, with the hopes of reducing prices and increasing convenience for its customers, according to the request for proposal draft.

Mr. Burke said, during the Sept. 8 meeting, is to push the proposal to the next level in the process.

“The exciting part is the spring was for discussion, the fall is for action,” Mr. Burke said during the Sept. 8 meeting. “We’re taking the trash-hauling discussion to action.”

While town council did not make an official decision on either the request for proposal or the ordinance, it did decide to push the ordinance to a business meeting at a future date but host a discussion before the vote.

“I would feel more comfortable with assurances that this won’t be a predicate for raising people’s rates,” said Councilman Jerry Bien-Willner during the Sept. 8 meeting. “I want to know that before I cast a vote on [the ordinance] with as much certainty as possible.”

Once the council returns to this issue, it will also revisit the idea of a single hauler.

According to Mr. Burke’s presentation, the end goal with the proposed ordinance and the request for proposal is to improve the quality of life for Paradise Valley residents by reducing several factors such as noise, pollution and frequency of collection.

However, the council did bring forth several concerns on the matter. In particular, against the idea of a single hauler.

Councilman Paul Dembow raised the concern during the meeting that the singularity of one hauler might hurt the town since there are many unique homes with unique set-ups and situations such as steep driveways or different bins.

Additionally, Councilwoman Mary Hamway brought up the concern about the balance between quality of life and the ability to chose, in particular, a neighborhood’s own deal with a contractor.

“Until we decide that free market is more important than quality of life, I don’t think we’re ever really going to solve this thing,” Councilwoman Hamway said during the meeting.

“What is our value here? Is it quality of life? The only way you’re going to achieve the quality of life we’re talking about is to go to a single hauler and carve out whatever we need to carve out. However, I’ve always thought that the free market and my choice trump quality of life.”

According to request for proposal draft, if the town were to go to a single hauler, it would pursue a five-year contract with the opportunity for three one-year extensions if the town deems the services acceptable.

Furthermore, since many homeowner association communities would have existing contracts, they would have until the end of the contract or three years, whichever came first, to get on the town’s plan.

However, several council members had concerns about the length of a term. Vice Mayor David Sherf said he would be more in favor of a two- or three-year contract in case the service was not what the town thought it was.

With a single hauler, the town hopes to have several service packages customers can choose to receive.

According to the request for proposal draft, the basic package would include: once per week pickup for solid waste and recyclables; quarterly bulky trash service; annual curbside Christmas tree pickup; and access to specialty waste programs.

The standard package would feature the same service, but would include twice per week pickup on solid wastes, according to the request for proposal.

Additional services may include: additional containers for either solid waste or recyclables; back-door pickup; compost material pickup; recycle bank or diversion discount; access to a landfill; and any additional pickups, according to the request for proposal.

Additionally, these services would only be available on a residential level, according to the request for proposal draft.

Paradise Valley Town Manager leads the April 14 community conversation on trash services within town limits. (Independent Newsmedia/Terrance Thornton)

Paradise Valley Town Manager leads the April 14 community conversation on trash services within town limits. (Independent Newsmedia/Terrance Thornton)

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