West Chester is ‘talking trash with Liberty Twp.’, may combine services

December meeting to gauge interest of the trustees in the two communities.

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

Liberty and West Chester townships are meeting next month to discuss possibly getting into a joint contract for trash and recycling service for their residents, after the largest township trashed recycling bins because of abuse.

In September, West Chester Twp. decided to get rid of its recycling bins because people were dumping everything from porcelain toilets to couches at recycling bins, causing extra work for service employees. The bins were removed Oct. 1 and officials told residents they would have to pay Rumpke privately if they want to recycle..

Township Administrator Larry Burks announced Tuesday they will offer cardboard recycling for the holidays in a bin at the safety services center from Dec. 19 to Jan. 19.

“We’re also going to be talking trash with Liberty Twp.,” Burks said. “We will be having a joint workshop, we’re considering the possibility of working together to negotiate a township-wide price for trash and recycling. This could ultimately save the property owners quite a bit of money.”

The township is still working out the details on the temporary cardboard recycling service but Barb Wilson, director of of public information and engagement, told the Journal-News part of it is a public safety measure. She said they want to provide a receptacle for people to dump gift boxes.

“We’re often telling residents if you have to put your trash out a couple days earlier because you’re traveling don’t put your big screen TV box out at the curb, because every crook knows you’ve got it,” she said. “The bad guys case the neighborhoods and see what you have in your trash during the holiday season especially.”

Trustee Ann Becker said she thought Fairfield Twp. should also get an invite to the meeting but township Administrator Julie Vonderhaar told the Journal-News she doesn’t believe they will be pursing a partnership with the other townships “at this time.”

Anne Fiehrer Flaig, director of the Butler County Recycling and Solid Waste District, is facilitating the discussion and she told the Journal-News residents would reap benefits from such a consortium.

“The primary benefit would be to save residents money and make it convenient for residents to recycle and have their trash collected,” she said. “Every municipality —and Ross Twp. — in Butler County has contracted service for residential trash and recycling collection and every city resident pays less for these services than Butler County township residents currently pay.”

She said Ross Twp. residents are realizing a savings of about $60 a year because the township issued a competitive bid for combination trash and recycling services in 2016. They are also providing curbside recycling to all single family residences at no additional charge. The multi-year contract also “helped contain future costs to residents.”

The Journal-News asked Rumpke if there would be a savings with the two communities contracting together and Communications Manager Molly Yeager said it all depends.

“Pricing is determined by location, route density — how far we travel between stops — and services offered,” Yeager said. “There wouldn’t necessarily be a price savings for bidding together and depending on the contract, it could limit individual service choices for customers.”

She said Butler County customers “are paying around $23 per month for trash service and $5.50 per month for recycling. This doesn’t include our fuel surcharge, which fluctuates based on Midwest Diesel prices.”

Liberty Twp. Trustee Steve Schramm said he is all for saving money for residents as long there isn’t a cost to the township.

“Anything we can do to lower the cost for our folks is a smart move by us, we finally pulled the trigger on the aggregation for electric and gas, which I think is turning out well for those who have chosen to do it, it’s saving some money,” Schramm said. “This is sort of the next viable option to look at for savings, I’m hoping there’s economies of scale, when you put the two communities together that’s a big block, that’s a lot of houses.”

Burks said the meeting on Dec. 7 is mainly to gauge interest of the trustees in the two communities, he doesn’t expect any definitive action, other than maybe to put out a request for proposals.

Burks said this collaboration meeting was born out of the trouble they had with people abusing the recycling program.

“Maybe that’s one good thing that will come out of all the abusers of the recycling centers we around town,” Burks said. “We partner with Liberty and provide a high quality service at almost two-thirds of the normal price.”

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