Kannapolis to update solid waste collection services

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 19, 2018

KANNAPOLIS — With Kannapolis’ Waste Management Inc. contract set to expire in June, the City Council met Monday to discuss possible changes in garbage and recycling services.

Director of Public Works Wilmer Melton said three services were in desperate need of “right sizing”: adjusting for the purposes of saving the city money and preventing abuses of policy.

Two of the services — bulky waste and white goods collection — are now offered weekly to all 18,000 homes that pay for city garbage and recycling services.

E-waste collection has been offered throughout the week through at a drop-off at the Public Works Operations Center.

Melton said the schedules were excessive and that site-based service had led to abuses that have cost the city thousands of dollars because electronics were left unattended and stripped of their valuable parts.

The council approved updating its 2019 contract to offer all services at curbside on a biweekly schedule to coincide with recycling.

Councilman Roger Haas said this will simply things for customers because they would no longer have to wonder which day of the week to dispose of bulky items or other goods.

“I think this is a great way to make it all uniform and put it all together,” Haas said.

By a vote of  5-2, the council approved making the contract changes with its current vendor rather than putting the contract out to bid.

Councilmen Ryan Dayvault and Doug Wilson voted against staying with the same company, citing several problems with Waste Management.

“My experience has been not the best with the current provider,” said Dayvault. “… The issue that I see consistently is just the lack of respect for our property, the city’s property, which is the cans that we have: throwing them in ditches upside down, tearing lids off, leaving them in all shapes or forms in addition to misses.”

But Melton said similar problems are seen industrywide and in neighboring communities.

“My experience with three different vendors is I think we’re going to have a lot of the same problems,” said Melton. “My fear is that it’s going to get worse. As you get a new vendor, there’s going to be a learning curve. I think the misses that some of you expressed will perhaps be worse.”

He said that an industry standard is that 1 percent to 2 percent of collections are missed. Waste Management has been missing at less than half of a percent.

Councilman Tom Kincaid said the benefits of keeping the same company outweigh the risk.

“I think this can be handled at the local level,” Kincaid said. “I would be afraid if we start this late in the game trying to get a new contract, it would put us behind the eight ball.”

The council also looked at reinstating a position for educating the community about acceptable recycling services, though City Manager Mike Legg said this would need to be further discussed after the results of a compensation study in early 2019.