ARVADA — Arvada voters may soon get an opinion on whether they will continue to have a choice over who picks up their trash, or if they want to pay for recycling services whether they use it or not.
The Arvada City Council will decide at its Aug. 26 regular meeting whether to refer a question to the ballot asking if the city should consider a single-hauler trash system.
Single-hauler trash systems are often controversial, with opponents saying it takes choice away from consumers, as well as disadvantaging smaller companies because they can’t compete on price against larger national companies for big city-wide contracts.
Currently, nearly a dozen different private companies offer trash and recycling services to Arvada residents. However, under a single-hauler system, the city would contract with one company that would then collect the trash for all 46,000 Arvada households.
It’s a system Arvada Mayor Pro Tem John Marriott doesn’t support.
“People would be giving up something that is precious and shouldn’t be devalued, and that’s consumer choice,” Marriott said. “If I get crosswise with my hauler, I can fire them and go with someone else at any time. It’s a huge benefit to consumers. The single-hauler system takes that away. And if you’re going to take that away, you better get something of significant value in return. That is what residents will have to decide if they want.”
Marriott said the idea was presented to the council by the Arvada Sustainable Advisory Committee in December. Board members then had to decide whether to move forward with the idea on their own or ask voters. That is what they will decide at the August 26 meeting.
If they refer the measure to the ballot, any decision by voters will not be binding. City council could still choose to contract with a single hauler on its own. Marriott said in order to make the vote binding council would have to have a full plan in place.
“It’s an advisory question,” Marriott said. “It will not require the city to do it, but it allows the citizens to weigh in.”
If the council moves forward with the plan, it will put out a request for bids from private companies. The bid would cover both trash and recycling services. Homeowner Associations would not be tied to the city contract but could opt-in.
The advisory committee recommended the single-hauler plan for three main reasons.
- To improve the recycling rate by including curbside recycling pickup.
- Leads to less truck traffic on the streets.
- Single-hauler system would make it cheaper.
Marriot said there are flaws with that reasoning.
The all-encompassing services will likely increase the cost of services for those who don’t want recycling services but will be required to pay for them regardless.
“Some will be subsidizing others,” Marriott said.
Marriott also isn’t sure the idea will reduce truck traffic overall in the city. While it may reduce it in certain neighborhoods, he said he must consider the entire city.
“There will be 50 percent more (trucks) on the road immediately adding recycling service to every household,” he said. “The efficacy of the trash system may yield a few miles, but do those things cancel each other out?”
The council will meet at 6 p.m., Aug. 26 in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 8101 Ralston Rd., Arvada.
Council members can be contacted at:
- Mayor Marc Williams firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mayor Pro Tem John Marriott email@example.com
- Nancy Ford firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mark McGoff email@example.com
- David Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dot Miller email@example.com
- Bob Fifer firstname.lastname@example.org