What Next for Waste?

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Meridian's liaison officer between the city and Waste Management, which has the current waste collection contract, appeared at the mayor's news conference.

"We have probably 10 companies that have an interest and have picked up packets or requested packages," said Hopkins. "And so we're running a pretty tight schedule, because even with that, people are going to have to have time if we have a new contractor. They'll have to have time to get equipment and a place. If we have the same one, they'll still need to the same time to make whatever adjustments are in the new contract that we're seeking."

The current garbage pickup contract represents about $2 million a year. The new one may be less, since recycling may not be included.

"A lot of things that were put into the recycling stream, such as certain plastics are no longer there. Certain glasses are no longer there," Hopkins said. "You really just can't find a vendor and it costs more to ship them than you'll make out of them, so we are not making any money off of recycling at this point."

Hopkins said time is running out, with the current contract to expire at the end of September.

"If we don't have a new contract we will have to enter into what we're trying to sell is a month by month agreement but we hope to have one in place by that time," said Hopkins.

Hopkins said it's possible the lowest bid may not be the best bid. The companies will have to explain what services they will provide and the cost. The city's consultants will examine the plans and make a recommendation.

In an unrelated matter, Mayor John Robert Smith said at the news conference that the number of subdivisions in the city is increasing.

"We're offering an incentive package to residential developers as we have offered incentive packages to commercial developers," Smith said. "In other words, we base the incentive packages on what we can get in infrastructure on the return we will receive in property tax values."

He said the subdivision plan was developed by the Grow Meridian Committee.