City Looks at Privatizing Garbage Collection

Benwood is looking to privatize garbage collection in the city to free up city employees for other projects and reduce costs to customers.

The city has been working on a deal with Republic Services to pick up Benwood’s trash, Police Chief Frank Longwell said.

While a deal has yet to be reached, he provided some details being considered.

The cost to customers would be $11 dollars a month, compared to the current rate of $14 per month.

The city would receive from Republican two large Dumpsters, one for each city park, and new trash bins would replace those outside the Benwood City Building.

Residents would be permitted to put out eight bags of garbage each month, though extra bags still would be picked up.

Those with excessive amounts of trash could purchase tags for their extra bags at 5 cents each.

“Like the guy said, they’re not going to go around and count your bags,” Longwell told Benwood City Council members. “If you have 10 bags this month, it’s not a problem.

“The cost of getting rid of garbage is minimal. Their big cost is sending a big truck with a guy.”

Privatization of garbage collection comes with benefits, he said. City employees spend a day and a half each week picking up garbage, and with privatization they could spend the time on other projects.

Also, the garbage department is running a deficit of $16,000. City officials likely would have to raise the monthly rate for garbage collection to $15 or $16 if they opt against privatization.

Getting out of the garbage collection business also would allow Benwood to sell its garbage truck and avoid future maintenance costs.

Longwell said the city’s worker’s compensation costs also should decrease tremendously with this plan.

“All across the country, the No. 1 (source of) injuries in this kind of work, believe it or not, is garbage collection,” he said. “(Injuries range) from dog bites to accidents to strains and pulls, and there are a lot of benefits to privatizing.”

Council expressed interest in having a contract presented to them in June. If the measure is passed, it could be implemented July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.