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City pursues option of private trash company
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MONROE - Aldermen decided Tuesday to pursue a contract with a private sanitation company after hauling the city's own garbage directly to the landfill in Janesville for more than two years.

City Administrator Phil Rath presented the Monroe Common Council with options and associated costs. Proposals from Pellitteri Waste Systems of Madison, Badgerland Disposal of Milton and Advanced Disposal of Fort Atkinson were weighed against one another, as well as the expense of directly transporting trash via city staff and returning to the Green County Transfer Station as non-members. The city ended negotiations for a contract with the facility at the end of 2015 due to a disagreement with billing practices.

In the end, council members voted 6-2 to negotiate a seven-year agreement with Pellitteri. Aldermen Michael Boyce, Donna Douglas, Mickey Beam, Brooke Bauman, Richard Thoman and Rob Schilt agreed to move forward with Pellitteri. Fellow council members Chris Beer and Ron Marsh voted against it. Jeff Newcomer was absent.

The contract would still need to be finalized and brought before the council for final approval. City Attorney Dan Bartholf said the conditions critical to negotiations include a beneficial escape clause and fees outside of general contract terms.

Fees for yard waste, e-waste like appliances and bulk waste were a concern for Beer, who wanted to ensure residents were not paying large amounts to get rid of items like televisions, computers or refrigerators. The prepaid arrangement with Pellitteri would range depending on the item but could be as much as $59 for an object with a refrigerant.

The seven-year agreement between the city and Pellitteri would be at an escalating cost. The plan, which includes weekly trash collection and recycling pickup every other week, would be at a cost of nearly $436,000 in the first year. By 2025, the city would be paying just over $511,000 to Pellitteri, which according to projections would be the least expensive of all options. Electronics would begin at a rising rate of $45 and furniture or mattresses would start at $35 per item.

If the city were to continue transporting its own garbage directly, the cost in 2019 would exceed $519,000. Advanced Disposal had a five-year plan, which would begin at a cost of just under $438,000 and end in 2023 at more than $488,000. A proposal from Badgerland had a beginning annual cost of just over $453,000, ending in five years at nearly $500,000.

Pellitteri was also the only company to propose a fuel surcharge. If gas prices were to exceed $3 per gallon, there would be an additional charge. Rath said fuel would need to reach $3.95 or higher to cost more than the other proposals. If the cost of gas fell below $2.50 per gallon, the city would be given a credit at a staggered rate. The highest possible refund would be 54 cents if the price of fuel fell to $1 per gallon. Similarly, a surcharge of 54 cents would apply if gas reached $4.45 per gallon.

Thoman asked whether a new contractor would introduce new garbage bins or continue to use the ones provided by the city. Initially, city bins would be used and likely replaced by the company as they became worn, Rath said.

Pellitteri and Badgerland both specified that they would use the Green County Transfer Station, a positive detail for some members of the council, like Douglas, who years ago helped establish the former landfill near Brodhead where the facility now exists.

"We kill two birds with one stone," Boyce said. "We lower our costs and we help out the transfer station."

The use of the station for Monroe's garbage would increase the amount of materials taken in by the facility, likely to grow its revenue. Because the city would not become a member once again, private residents who choose to take items directly to the station would still be charged the higher, non-member rate of $65 per ton. Members pay $40 per ton.