December 9, 2020 | By: Jim Mishler | WBCKFM – The City of Battle Creek may not renew its waste hauling contract with Waste Management. The contract for the single service provider contract expires in a few months. City staff is recommending that Battle Creek may be better served by a new trash hauler. It certainly would be a lot less expensive. And Waste Management has had a number of issues keeping its routes on schedule due in part to staff shortages from the virus outbreak.
City Purchasing Manager Chris Huff tells WBCK all contracts are reviewed well in advance of closing dates to see if other options are a better fit for the city. The financial end of this deal may be more critical than the service interruptions. Republic Services came in with a five-year waste and recycling materials handling bid at $6 million less than Waste Management’s bid to extend its contract. For a city that has been forced to put employees on layoff due to the financial shortfall caused by the virus outbreak, over $1 million a year in savings is huge.
But there is that pesky issue of missing routes and delays. The city has been forced to issue public releases on a regular basis about regular and yard trash pickup delays going back several months now. The Battle Creek Enquirer reports Mayor Mark Behnke points to complaints about the service and that many residents don’t accept the virus created delays as acceptable. The Mayor is quoted by the Enquirer as saying, “Citizens really aren’t accepting the fact that the pandemic is delaying their pickup…It’s one of the top complaints that we’ve received for the past four months.”
City staff members have talked with other Michigan communities that rely on Republic for waste hauling and all report being pleased with the service with few if any delays reported. The Battle Creek City Commission may vote on the potential new contract with Republic at its December 15th meeting.