City council ‘talking trash’ at Tuesday meeting


Hillsboro City Council is slated to hear a first reading Tuesday on an ordinance creating a municipal trash pickup service by contract with private waste management companies — a measure some council members say could save city residents up to 50 percent on their trash bill.

The ordinance, introduced by council members Wendy Culbreath, Claudia Klein, Brandon Leeth and Ann Morris, would authorize the safety and service director to bid out trash pickup in the city and bill residents for it.

Klein said there are currently six private companies providing trash pickup service for Hillsboro residents. Under the ordinance, those companies would bid for one or more of Hillsboro’s four quadrants and the city would tack the charge onto citizens’ water bills.

Klein said the ordinance is “very feasible for Hillsboro,” and based on research she and other council members have conducted, it could save residents up to 50 percent of their trash bill.

“Right now, it’s just in the beginning stages,” she said. “Other cities that we’ve talked to, their trash bill has absolutely gone down because there’s a bidding process and they know they’re going to be paid… I know what we are proposing, and what we are hoping it will be, but we need to get more facts and figures.”

Morris said council members are considering including an “opt-out plan” in the ordinance for residents who want to keep their current trash provider. Those who opt out may be asked to provide proof of a trash service at the city building to ensure each household is taking care of its own trash and not placing it in other receptacles, or not taking out trash at all, Morris said.

Morris said contracts would most likely be for two years and then re-bid. Other cities that have done the same have found residents’ bills decrease with each bid, she added.

“This is a plan to help the city and its citizens,” Morris said. “We’re here to try and make improvements when we can.”

Culbreath said the ordinance is “a good idea because it’s going to save everybody a bunch of money.”

“We don’t have the numbers right now but from looking at other cities… it could be up to 50 percent,” she said. “The cities we’ve talked to said they had no complaints, their cities are cleaner… They just couldn’t say enough good about it.”

The ordinance will be heard and discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, Klein said. Council normally meets on the second Monday of each month, but due to the Columbus Day holiday, the meeting was moved to Tuesday. Council will meet at 7 p.m. in the municipal courtroom at the Highland County Justice Center.

Based on recent Facebook discussion, Leeth said he expects there will be residents at the meeting who are opposed to the ordinance.

“We have some support, but we’ve also received a lot of backlash, and there’s people who have made comments that they’re happy with their trash service,” he said. “I think there will be plenty of people there to voice their opinions. I think that’s what we need more of.”

Leeth also said he is also aware of concerns that smaller waste management services may lose business if a larger one wins a contract with a city, which he said is valid.

“I get that,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes in the next couple months.”

Culbreath said she believes citizens’ concerns will be assuaged if they listen to council members.

“I don’t look for a large resistance once they find out the facts of what we’re trying to accomplish,” she said.

Reach David Wright 937-402-2570.
Municipal waste pickup service proposed

By David Wright

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