By Dennis Minich
Relief is on the way for Harrisonville trash customers complaining about the service provided by Municipal Waste Management. The board of aldermen voted last month to cancel the contract with the company effective Aug. 1 and it was announced at the July 6 meeting that a new collector, Green For Life Environmental (GFL), had been selected to start service Aug. 2.
GFL is a rebranding of WCA, which will maintain its fleet of trucks, collection and recycling center in Harrisonville.
The new service will increase the price of collection from $14.80 per month to $16.25, which was far lower than the only other bid received by the city City Administrator Brad Ratliff said he hopes the decision will slow down the complaints coming into the city.
“We have been engaging since March since we met with the current hauler. We lost a lot of staff time dealing with the issue. We will now have a national company with a local facility,” Ratliff said.
Many aldermen expressed concerns about many of the issues faced by the current company as well as worries new trash carts and recycle bins might not be available on time. There were also lingering concerns because WCA held the contract before Municipal Waste and there were problems then. GFL Governmental Contract Manager Tom Coffman reassured them things should be ready to go.
“You won’t have problems like you had with WCA. We have a solid slate of drivers, good equipment and a customer service center right up the road,” he said. Coffman said Tuesday the order for bins has been placed and they are scheduled to be delivered before Aug. 1. A change customers may face is a change in collection days.
“We have people who will set the schedule. The city has provided us a list of addresses and the routes will be built from that. I can’t guarantee days will stay the same,” Coffman said.
The company will only observe four holidays instead of the six taken by Municipal Waste. Trash will not be collected on New Year’s Day, July 4, Thanksgiving and Christmas. GFL will also continue to pick up yard waste 10 months of the year. Patrons can still leave one oversized item on the curb each month.
The days of pick up as well as other details of the service will be explained to customers in a letter which will be sent out prior to Aug. 1.
Coffman said preparing for a new contract in the middle of a year like this is unusual.
“This is not something that usually happens. We had to make a lot of arrangements for trucks and binds, but we have responded to RFPs (request for proposals) before so we were able to get it together fairly quickly,” Coffman said.
One complaint many customers had with the current service was observed mixing of trash with recyclables. Coffman assured it will not happen.
“We’ve always removed the recyclables,” Coffman said. “We never put them in the landfill. They are a commodity and prices go up and down, but that’s part of the business.”
He noted other collectors use their recycling center as well.
The vote to accept the new company was 7-0 with Alderman Bill Mills absent.
The only other action by the board last week was an agreement with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to provide fleet management services to the city.