Green River Star -

By David Martin

Private collection could save money


The Green River City Council will have a major decision to make in regards to if it will continue offering residential solid waste services or if it will franchise the business to private industry.

“It seems to me most cities have gone to privatization quite some time ago,” Mayor Pete Rust said.

Rust said he’s received emails about the issue every day, but said he hasn’t received a lot of communication from residents regarding the issue. Also, according to Rust, the response he has received hasn’t been overwhelmingly supportive for either continuing the service under the city or allowing a private business to take over.

One of the more attractive incentives for privatizing the service is the estimated costs to residents being lower than what the city can provide. Estimates suggest residents would save money on their monthly solid waste bills if a private business were to take over the service.

According to budget presentation documents from the city’s finance department, a private vendor, Wyoming Waste Management Systems, proposes it could provide its platinum-level service in Green River for $33 a month, compared to service through the city offered at $43 a month during the first year of operating the transfer station set to open later this year.

Savings are continued to be projected by year three of operation, with the private service estimate of $34.11 per month versus $53 per month through the city and year five projections continuing the trend with $35.47 per year against $57 per year. Those estimates are projected to result in $1.085 million in savings to residents during the fifth year of operation and would result in $115,000 paid to the city in franchising fees.

The main reason why the city’s solid waste cost estimates are so high are due to the city needing to purchase specialized equipment for the transfer station, a cost that would get passed along to residents in their bills. Previous Council discussion about a loan to purchase the equipment focused on the need to secure a revenue stream for whatever organization would end up issuing the loan, resulting in a need to increase rates on residents.

Another issue involved with the privatization debate is what would happen to the city’s solid waste employees. If the city switches to a private company for its solid waste service, those jobs would be eliminated. Wyoming Waste Management Systems representatives have told the Council they’re listening to concerns about the employees’ future. However, regardless of how the employee issue is ultimately dealt with, Rust said tough choices are in the Council’s future.

“There are some difficult decisions to be made,” Rust said.


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