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Recycling costs

Members of the Jamestown City Council learned that cost savings from automation in garbage collection could offset some increases in costs for residential recycling during a presentation by HDR Engineering at a special meeting of the Jamestown Pu...

Members of the Jamestown City Council learned that cost savings from automation in garbage collection could offset some increases in costs for residential recycling during a presentation by HDR Engineering at a special meeting of the Jamestown Public Works Committee Thursday.

HDR performed a study for the city of Jamestown looking for efficiencies within the solid waste department of Jamestown and exploring the possibility of curbside recycling.

Costs presented Thursday ranged from $14 per month per household to $27 per month depending on the size of the garbage container the household needs and the recycling options. That compares to the $15.10 per month residences in Jamestown currently pay for garbage pickup and rental of a container.

"Curbside recycling will increase recycling," said Brent Erickson of HDR. "It will not be cost neutral, but doesn't have to be cost prohibitive."

The plan combines using automated garbage trucks that use hydraulic arms to pick up garbage and recycling cans and empty the cans into the truck. This cuts labor costs associated with having crews pick up garbage cans and bags and emptying the contents into the truck.

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Erickson's plan also included charging households based on the size of the garbage receptacle. People needing larger garbage cans would pay more than people utilizing smaller cans. Each household would have two cans, one for garbage and one for recyclables, with the possibility of a third added during the summer for yard waste that could be hauled to a compost location.

Cost projections ranged from $14 to $16 per month for a household using a 32-gallon garbage can without a lawn waste can to $25 to $27 per month for a household using a 96-gallon can with a separate lawn waste receptacle.

The Public Works Committee took no action on the information.

Implementing the automation and recycling plan would require replacing three of the city's six garbage trucks with trucks equipped with automated arms. It would also require replacing many of the city-owned garbage containers.

Erickson said the numbers in the study were projections and cautioned the City Council against using them as a rate structure.

The accuracy and completeness of the report were questioned by members of the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Katie Andersen during the committee meeting.

The City Council agreed to pay about $13,000 in pending bills for work on the study on a 4-1 vote with Andersen dissenting. Andersen asked for additional time to review the study and compare it to the contract specifications.

HDR contracted with the city of Jamestown to perform the study on an hourly basis with a not-to-exceed price of $98,000. The project is currently about $20,000 under that amount with only the report finalization remaining.

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Joan Morris, a member of the City Beautification Committee, said there was a disconnect between the study and proposal HDR had made and that the study did not include a waste characteristics analysis as required by the request for proposal.

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