By Julie Ann Madden
Van’s Sanitation Inc. of Le Mars will continue to be Akron’s solid waste and recycling hauler.
Every two years, city officials review the contract with Van’s Sanitation Inc. and decide whether to renew it. Van’s Sanitation has been the city’s garbage hauler since 1998.
“They do a great job,” said Akron City Administrator Gary Horton, recommending the council renew the contract at their Feb. 11 meeting. “We get very few complaints (about Van’s Sanitation’s service). If we do get a complaint, they take care of it right away.”
Van’s Sanitation picks up Akron’s solid waste on Mondays and Thursdays in Akron now, he said. Each day a portion of both residential and commercial customers’ garbage is picked up.
He noted Van’s Sanitation had not increased its rates since they took over the hauling of Akron’s solid waste and recycling but they did add a fuel surcharge that is charged when diesel prices are more than $3 per gallon.
Our current garbage rates are $5.75 per ton for residential customers, said Horton. Of that the city keeps 25 cents per residential account for billing, collection and other miscellaneous costs incurred by the city.
“(Although Van’s Sanitation hasn’t increased its rates,) our landfill rates have increased $12.50 per ton since we joined the landfill. We have not had any increases to offset those landfill rate increases. We are looking at increasing our landfill rates for both residential and commercial customers to offset those increases.”
Horton suggested the council renew the contract as it was presented and decide on whether to switch to curbside recycling by June 15 when the contract goes into effect.
Councilor David Irizarry made the motion to renew the contract for an additional two years, and Councilor Denise Loutsch-Beitelspacher seconded it. The vote was unanimous, 4-0 with Councilor Barbara Johnson absent.
Currently, the city has large recycling containers set just north of the intersection of Third and Mill Streets. Residents haul their own recyclables to that location.
This type of recycling costs about $1,500 per year with about 15 tons recycled annually, said Horton. “If we switch to curbside recycling with a once per month pick up, the cost would be an extra $13,000 per year, which includes the fuel surcharge for the days Van’s Sanitation would pick up the recycling at curbside.”
If we can recycle 100 tons per year, that would, at $30.50 per ton, save us $3,050 per year in landfill fees since the landfill doesn’t charge for recycling tons, he said.
If we reach the goal of 100 tons recycled, along with removing our existing recycling fees, we would save $4,550 to help offset costs, said Horton.
“If we switch to curbside recycling, the $4,550 savings would not offset the additional $13,000 for Van’s Sanitation to run the extra route and haul it to the landfill,” he said. “If we switch to curbside recycling we would have to charge each residential customer an additional $1.20 per month to offset the additional cost.”
With curbside recycling, Van’s Sanitation would pick up recyclables at residents’ homes — about half the residents’ recycling would be picked up on one Wednesday a month and the other half would be done the following Wednesday.
To implement curbside recycling, the city would need to purchase 95-gallon recycling containers, which cost $53 each, for the town’s 600 residential customers.
The $31,800 cost for containers could be offset by an Iowa Department of Natural Resources grant, which would pay for 75 percent of the containers’ cost, leaving the city to fund about $7,950.
If the council would decide to purchase matching garbage containers, that would be an additional $31,800.
If the council decides not to do curbside recycling, then there would be a 25 cents per residential customer increase in garbage rates, effective June 15 that would be paid directly to Van’s Sanitation to offset operational cost increases they have incurred over the past 16 years, said Horton.
In other business, the Council:
• Unanimously approved spending $395 on a full page ad in a Community Guide being created by The Akron Hometowner.
• Learned city officials and community volunteers would be staffing a booth about Akron at the Siouxland Home Show, Feb. 20 – 23.
• Unanimously approved a resolution adopting the 2014 revised Human Resources Policy Handbook for city employees.