Albemarle approves two-year Waste Management contract renewal

The current seven-year contract expires at the end of June

Albemarle Public Works Director Ross Holshouser speaks to councilmembers at the May 20 meeting (City of Albemarle)

ALBEMARLE — At the Albemarle City Council’s May 20 meeting, councilmembers unanimously approved a new two-year solid waste collection and recycling contract with Waste Management that will begin in July.

Last fall, the council reviewed which services to contract and which services city staff would perform going forward, deciding that staff would be responsible for yard waste, limb, loose leaf and white good collection to allow for more possible service provider proposals.

The city received proposals for garbage and recycling collection from Waste Management and Republic Services, among others.

“Republic Services, as you all know, did not meet the requested service levels that we all wanted to provide our residents,” Albemarle Public Works Director Ross Holshouser told the council. “With that being said, Waste Management did offer comprehensive services at the lowest price.”

While council initially decided last July that it did not plan to renew its seven-year contract with Waste Management — citing discontent with the current quality of contractual work provided — the City of Albemarle will now continue to work with the company with the future goal of independently handling the full collection of garbage, recyclables and yard waste.

“We’ll be exploring the possibility of bringing solid waste and recycling services in-house once the two-year contract with Waste Management expires,” Holshouser said. “Again, those are going to be discussions we’ll have over the next year. We are always evaluating the most efficient and cost effective options for service or service in our community.”

Holshouser mentioned that the cost of garbage and recycling services has risen “significantly” over the past years, and that the lower-than-market-rate pricing locked into the city’s previous seven-year contract with Waste Management allowed Albemarle residents to temporarily avoid higher bills and any major inflation impacts.

The previous contract was limited to a 2.5% increase built in each year, while the new contract starting in July will see an increase of $11.03 per month charged to Albemarle’s collection-billing department.

With the new assigned delegation of services between Waste Management and the city, the vendor will be providing bi-weekly recycling, weekly cart collection of garbage, weekly bulk collection of extra bagged garbage that doesn’t fit in the cart, as well as weekly construction and demolition items (boards, furniture, mattresses, cabinets, carpeting, decking).

City staff will be responsible for seasonal loose leaf collection, weekly limb, yard waste, electronics and white good collection, consisting of appliances, refrigerators, water heaters and washer dryers.

Albemarle residents with any questions regarding their garbage or recycling services are advised to contact the city’s customer service department, who will now act as a mediator between residents and Waste Management; the contact phone number is 704-984-9615.

Mayor Pro Tem Martha Sue Hall stated at the meeting that the direct line of communication from customers to the city for all disposal-related questions — even inquiries eventually brought to the vendor by the city — is “one of the best things that we are doing now.”

The Albemarle City Council is set to meet again on June 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers.