The city of Apache Junction is set to begin negotiations to contract with a single company to handle solid waste, recycling and disposal services for single family homes and small residential complexes in the city.
On Aug. 6, the Apache Junction City Council reviewed the bids and the staff recommendation to enter into contract negotiations with Republic Services, which was determined to be the lowest and most responsible proposal received. The City Council then directed staff to begin negotiations with Republic Services for residential trash disposal and recycling pickup service for single-family, duplex, triplex and four-plex residential units within the city limits.
RV parks, home owners associations with current contracts for trash services and businesses are not part of the current process.
Contract negotiations are expected to take several weeks. The City Council will then consider approval of the contract, as well as an update to the city’s solid waste ordinance.
Residents will receive information from Republic Services regarding the transition prior to the new service beginning in spring 2020. Updated information during the process can be found at the city website: www.ajcity.net/trash.
In the spring of 2018, the city of Apache Junction received a recommendation from Arizona State University School of Sustainability graduate students studying best practices for residential solid waste and recycling refuse management. This, in addition to residents’ desire to clean up the city, prompted the city council to direct staff in May 2018 to further research and develop a Request for Proposals (RFP) for City Council to review.
The competitive RFP process was opened from June 10 to July 11. Three bids were received, all from the largest waste companies in the nation: Republic Services, Waste Management and Waste Connections (the company that recently purchased Right Away Disposal). The bids were then scored under a standard set of criteria by a city panel.
The city decided to start this transition after research confirmed that doing so would decrease the cost of solid waste services for residents, enhance and promote public health and safety, extend the life of roads by having fewer waste trucks on residential streets and simplify scheduling of other street maintenance, including street sweeping.
The vast majority of Arizona cities and towns use a single hauler system (either the city operates or oversees a private contractor), because it aids in keeping costs low for residents through an enforceable contract with the provider.
For more information or additional questions, interested parties may call the city manager’s office at 480-474-5066. Citizens are always welcome to voice their opinion in person before the City Council at regular meetings held on the first and second Tuesdays of every month.
Council meetings are held in the City Council chambers at 300 E. Superstition Blvd. and can also be viewed live through the city government channel at www.ajcity.net/livestream.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q: What will the cost of trash and recycle pick up be?
A: There are two options to choose from depending on what fits your lifestyle and budget.
Option 1: 2 times a week trash pickup only - $10.71 monthly / $32.13 a quarter.
Option 2: 2 times a week trash pickup & once a week recycle pickup - $18.71 / $56.13 a quarter.
2. Q: How can Apache Junction enforce mandatory garbage for everyone?
A: Per Arizona Administrative Code Title 18, Chapter 13, Article 3, R18-13-305, “where refuse collection service is available, the following refuse shall be required to be collected; Garbage, ashes, rubbish, and small dead animals which do not exceed 75 pounds in weight”. The city will be able to enforce this through an update to the city code.
3. Q: How often can Republic Services raise rates?
A: Under the contract Republic Services cannot arbitrarily raise rates at any time. They will be obligated to place in writing a request to raise rates to the city. This can only be done one time per year and the request to raise rates is required to be in accordance with the Consumer Price Index for Water, Sewer and Trash Collection (CPI-U).
While highest increase per CPI-U was 6.05% in 2010, increases in recent years have hovered closer to 3.5%. A 3.5% increase on $10.71 rate per month would equate to an increase of approximately .37 cents per month, or about $4.50 per year.
4. Q: Are there any additional or hidden fees in and above the $10.71 and $18.71 monthly rates?
A: No, these monthly rates are inclusive of all fees.
5. Q: How often will I be billed?
A: Payment is due quarterly, however there is an option to pay annually to receive a 2% discount. All payments are to be made directly to Republic Services.
6. Q: What is the timing of the transfer of service to Republic Services?
A: It is anticipated that a contract will be considered by council in October 2019 with an expected start date of March 2nd 2020. The city and Republic will work to educate residential customers on the new mandated trash services and how to sign up for services beginning shortly after the contract is in effect. Residents should verify with their current hauler that services will end and containers will be removed by Feb 29th, 2020.
7. Q: Can you provide more details on what bulk trash pick-up consists of and includes?
A: Typical bulk trash items may consist of items that do not fit inside the provided garbage container. Common examples are furniture, appliances, large plastic toys, old grills, brush/branches and refrigerators (freon must be removed prior to service). There are restrictions on size which will be provided to residents when information about all of the services are published.
8. Q: How does one sign up for the curbside bulk trash pickup?
A: If a resident has a need for the curbside bulk trash pickup in any given month, they will be able to call Republic Services to schedule it. This once a month service available to residents is included in the monthly price.
9. Q: Can we protect our residents in March when they transition from WM or RAD from getting charged an extra surcharge for “changing”?
A: While staff is not 100% sure if trash service providers charge for container pick up upon cancellation of services it is not anticipated that the other providers would charge a fee for cancellation unless there is a contract in place. Staff spoke to RAD and the customer service agent stated they do not charge a fee to pick up bins when a customer cancels service.
10. Q: Will Republic work with winter visitors on a 3-month winter visitor deal?
A: As written in their response to the RFP, “upon request, Republic will set accounts to a reduced vacation hold for up to 6 months a year”. Staff has received verbal confirmation from Republic Services that the reduced rate for up to 6 months will be $0.
11. Q: What about the HOAs who have a contract with other providers?
A: The city will honor any contracts HOA’s have in place until the expiration date at which time they will need to transition to Republic Services.
12. Q: How will AJ make it work for residents who generate little to no weekly trash?
A: Residents are only obligated to put out their containers when there is material to be disposed of and they may choose to place their container out only one of the two days per week it is scheduled for pick up. It is important to note that all residential residents in the city share in the cost of these services under the contract and according to staff research and feedback received from residents the rates being proposed are lower than any current provider’s pricing.
13. Q: Are residential rental properties considered commercial or residential?
A: For the purposes of this contract, single-family, duplex, triplex, and four-plex residential units (rental or owner-occupied) are considered residential and fall under the provisions of the solid waste contract. Only mobile home parks and residential dwellings over 4 units are considered commercial.
14. Q: If I rent a home or a unit in a duplex, triplex, or four-plex is it my responsibility or the owner’s responsibility to pay for the cost of trash services?
A: All renters should refer to their lease or rental contract to determine if they are liable for the cost of trash services; whether it is included in their monthly rent or not. Any discussion or negotiation on this should take place between the tenant and the homeowner or landlord.
15. Q: How are we going to verify that residents continue their services?
A: On a routine basis the city in conjunction with Republic Services will conduct an audit to determine which residential dwellings (single family residences, duplex, triplex and four-plex) are not subscribed to trash services.
16. Q: Will the Republic Landfill still offer free quarterly dump weeks after these services go into effect?
A: Yes, the city will continue to have free quarterly dump weeks.
17. Q: Since Republic will have more properties to pick garbage up from, will they need to hire more people?
A: Republic Services is always hiring qualified individuals with a passion for customer service and safety. They anticipate the need to add to their workforce to service the entire City.