By Greg Bird
As of January first McCreary County will see a new garbage service provider as the Fiscal Court voted 5-0 Wednesday morning to award a five-year contract with Poff Carting – a company based out of London.
At the brief special called meeting Judge Executive Doug Stephens explained that he and Magistrate Jason Mann reviewed bids from the two companies who submitted proposals, Pofff and Scott Solid Waste, and met with representatives from both firms earlier this week and recommended the Fiscal Court accept the bid from Poff Carting.
The Fiscal Court decided to go with the first of two proposals from Poff, which would entail a $15.45 monthly curbside pickup for residential customers. The company also offered a $16 a month service which would include providing a 96-gallon roll away container for each customer. That service is still an option in the future, but the Fiscal Court opted to stay with the cheaper service at this time.
The new service will begin on January 1, 2018 once a five-year contract is finalized.
Poff Carting will spend the three months before service begins by taking a closer look at the county, planning routes, ordering equipment and contacting potential customers to set up collection service.
Todd Hopper, owner of Poff Carting, said the next three months will be busy for the company as they will begin ordering equipment and hiring drivers for the local routes.
Before the company takes over the service in January, Hopper said his company would make every effort to reach out to customers and non-customers alike to inform them of the service and advise them on how to sign up.
Hopper stated Poff Carting will at least do two mailings to customers as a means of introducing themselves to the consumers.
The bid proposals for the new service were received and opened last Thursday during the regular Fiscal Court meeting, with representatives from both parties on hand in the room.
Examining the proposals shows Poff Carting offered better rates on regular curbside pickup and commercial dumpsters than Scott Solid Waste.
Poff offered two proposals for residential pick up: the first was a $15.45 per month service, with up to six bags allowed per week and a senior citizen discount of $1.50 per month.
The second option offered a $16.95 per month rate (with the senior discount as well), but the company would provide each customer with a 96-gallon wheeled container, which would allow Poff to use automated lift trucks to collect garbage.
Scott’s proposal offered a residential service rate of $16 per month, with a senior discount of $1.75.
Poff’s commercial rates also were lower than SSW. For example a 4-yard dumpster with once a week pick up was priced at $75.35 compared to SSW at $95.26.
Poff also offered to operate the Transfer Station, at least part time, while Scott intended to keep their operation based in Scott County.
Both Companies agreed to participate in the spring and fall cleanups, but Poff offered to donate up to five roll off loads for each of the events, while Scott offered one free load for every three paid loads collected.
Collection rates, despite the requirement for “mandatory” trash service, hover at only about 50 percent of households in the county. An increase in subscription would not only mean more revenue for the company providing service, it would also generate higher franchise fees for the Solid Waste Fund.
In fact, the only area where SSW appeared to top their competitor was in franchise fees if the county met certain participation figures. Poff proposed a 5.5 percent franchise fee (based off of annual revenue in the county) paid to the county, with that rate going to 6.5 percent if 5,2000 residential customers subscribe for regular service.
Scott Solid Waste offered a five percent franchise fee, but would increase that figure to 7 percent if more than 5,000 customers subscribe.
The franchise fee does not affect the General Fund as that fee would remain in the Solid Waste Fund.
Poff Carting was at the center of the controversy over garbage collection six years ago, the last time the Fiscal Court called for bids from potential service providers.
Poff, Scott Solid Waste and Cardinal Sanitation, of Monticello, had each submitted proposals, which the Fiscal Court rejected.
The Court moved to combine the lowest pricing structure from all three bids and asked the companies to resubmit proposals using the new pricing guidelines. Poff refused to issue a new bid, while Scott and Cardinal each agreed to the new prices. After comparing both companies, the Fiscal Court decided to award the contract to Scott.
Cardinal filed a lawsuit against the County, citing they felt the new pricing was taken from their original bid, and as such, should have been awarded the contract and that the Fiscal Court had acted improperly to combine the bids in the first place. That lawsuit was ultimately dismissed in 2015 when it was ruled the Fiscal Court did not act improperly.
Scott Solid Waste’s five-year contract was set to expire last December, but after requesting bids for new service, Scott was the only company to submit a proposal, and their terms did not meet the terms the Fiscal Court had asked for.
With a deadline looming the Court took action to extend the contract for an additional year with Scott Solid Waste, but did have to make several concessions to the garbage service provider – such as taking over the transfer station in Stearns and requesting a lower franchise fee