IM, GAD reach new contract for trash

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Iron Mountain City Council agreed Tuesday to a new seven-year contract with Great American Disposal of Kingsford for trash collection services in the city, just days before the current pact was set to expire.

The city’s Infrastructure Committee and administration tried to find ways to avoid the major cost increases built into in GAD’s three-, five- and seven-year contract proposals, including revisiting having city crews providing the service, City Manager Jordan Stanchina said.

Even with the seven-year deal, the cost will rise by $17,000 compared with the current year, Stanchina said.

“The seven-year contract controls the costs the best, as well as buys us some time to see what else we can do differently,” Stanchina said.

The city will need to adjust future budgets accordingly, probably to raise what residents pay for collection. He encouraged the council “to let it ride” this year, since the council went into the current year with a balanced budget. Adjustments may have to be made, possibly going into the fund balance this year, to accommodate the increase.

The annual costs under the seven-year contract will be $250,536, or $1.46 per stop. This is a 7.35 percent increase from the $231,627.80 paid in 2016, at a rate of $1.36 per stop.

The infrastructure committee also looked at GAD’s five-year proposal, which called for a 8.82 percent increase the first year at $1.48 per stop for a total cost of $253,968. Initially, the council also received a three-year bid from GAD that would have increased costs by 16.18 percent the first year.

Stanchina also estimated it would cost the city about $258,510 — or almost $8,000 more — to provide the service itself, considering wages and benefits for two employees as well as the cost of a garbage truck and maintenance.

The approved seven-year contract allows the rate to rise from 2.7 to 4.3 percent annually after the first year, going to $1.80 per stop by the final year.

Council member Scott Celello noted that with no competition, the city must use the Dickinson County Solid Waste Management facility for disposal of garbage. He asked whether the city has talked about changing that with other municipalities.

Stanchina said the authority last year had looked for anyone interested in operating the facility, but no one came forward. The city, like all other entities in the county, must bring household garbage to the Dickinson County Solid Waste Transfer Station in Quinnesec under the Dickinson County Solid Waste Plan.

Garbage services are paid for through a combination of tax millage and a monthly $4.55 fee on the city water bills.

GAD has been the provider of the garbage collection for the city since 2004. Prior to that time, the city had its own garbage collection vehicles and staff to provide that service.

GAD collects an average of 2,787 tons of refuse a year in the city, which has a population of 7,625 based on the 2010 census. The service in 2016 collected garbage from 3,300 residential and commercial stops in the city.

Along with the weekly garbage pickup, the contract with the city also calls for providing dumpsters in the spring at the public works facility for collecting larger items that residents want to dispose of — furniture, building materials, bedding and other items.