CITY CLOSEUP: Trash and Leaf Removal Privatized

Trash pickup will drop to once a week, bulk trash will be on demand and leaves will bagged rather than blown when Bates Trucking and Trash Removal takes over Annapolis' solid waste removal October 1.


Annapolis City Council unanmiously voted to contract its solid waste disposal to Bates Trucking and Trash Removal Monday night as part of the 2013 budget.

"The city did a managed competition process for solid waste where we invited bids to handle solid waste, including letting our own city guys bid on it," Mayor Josh Cohen said. "The bottom line is we are going to be contracting out our entire solid waste operation. Not just recycling, but also trash, refuse pickup and yard waste is going to be handled by Bates, which currently does our recycling."

Cohen was initially resistant to the idea of contracting out the city's trash services, but ended up voting for the conversion.

"I have some concerns about the accountability because it’s going to be one layer removed," Cohen said. "But again, Bates is reputable and they already do our recycling."

The changover is slated for Oct. 1, but Cohen said it could happen a little earlier. Here's a look at how privatizing Annapolis' trash will change things:

It's going to save you money

Annapolis' trash removal is an enterprise fund, which means it has to be self-sustaining. That means whent the cost of trash removal goes up, so does residents' quarterly utility bill.

Cohen said contracting out the city's solid waste operation saves the city money.

"So the reduction in cost is passed through to all of us on our quarterly utility bill," Cohen said. "This current year the annual reduction is projected at $48 per household."

A projection that is expected to grow once Bates actually takes over.

"My expectation is that next year, once it’s actually implemented, the savings will increase even beyond that $48," Cohen said. 

Trash pickup will be once a week

"The tentative plan, and it’s not final, but tentatively it’s going to be whatever day you have recycling, you’re going to get it all," Cohen said. 

Trash collection moved to once a week for Anne Arundel County residents June 4.

Scott Shaffer has his trash services handled by the county, and he said, "We were finding that maybe 25 percent of our neighborhood even put out trash the second day."

No more leaf blowing

"Instead of the leaf vacuuming coming around, that’s going to switch to just bagged leaves," Cohen said. 

The mayor said it is a more cost-effective approach to leaf removal, but he has heard some pushback from residents in Admiral Oaks. 

Bulk pickup on demand

"Instead of the quarterly bulk pickup, we are going to switch to bulk pickup on demand, which actually is a cheaper way of doing it," Cohen said. "If you have like a big appliance or something, you can just call and then the next day they will come and pick it up."

Some city employees will change jobs

City employees who currently handle trash pickup will have two options: The first is to apply for one of the 12 jobs openings with Bates, and the second option will be to switch to other city jobs.

How do you feel about the changes being made to solid waste removal services? Tell me in the comments.

Safety first June 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Not to sure about it yet but we will have to give it time. Bates is a large company and they seem to do a good job for the county so it should be good for the city as well. $48 a year is not much but a savings is a savings. Now that the city will no longer have this obligation it will be interesting to see if they actually decrease the amount city residents actually pay per quarter. As far as the employees who lost there positions in this move. They would be smart to stay with the city in different departments. I am sure they will get better benefits with the city then they would with Bates so as far as that is concerned not much of a savings there for city residents. One pick up a week is something we have been saying for years would be a good idea. Bulk pick up on demand is a very good idea as well. Bagging leafs is a better idea as well. So many times i have seen large piles of leafs on sidewalks and curbs that would sit for weeks waiting to be picked up just to get wet and slippery and fill the storm drains causing storm water to back up. All in all a good job by the city council and Mayor.
Wes Snipes June 25, 2012 at 01:04 PM
This is long overdue. It is about time our representatives did something smart. My only worry here is the option for these workers to go and work in other departments... a big part of the savings has to be getting these folks off the payroll... moving to other departments isn't going to do that.
Safety first June 26, 2012 at 08:14 PM
After reading post from Anne Arundel County residents i now have reservations about the job that Bates will do for the city. Many posts indicated that the service from Bates and the once a week pick up has caused some problems that i hope our city leaders took the time to look at. The once a week pick up has not caused a increase in recycling but has cause a increased amount of regular trash to pile up in front of homes on and before there pick up day. What seems to be occurring is rodents and bugs getting into the trash and by most accounts the smell is overwhelming. Trash not picked up because the trucks are full before there routes are finished. I hope the city council has thought of these things as well as what about makeup days when our normal pick up day falls on a holiday? I see bad things coming this way and i want to know what residents pushed this issue through. Maybe they can come pick up the trash when Bates will not or cannot. I have my suspicions on whom to blame if this fails but i will keep that to myself for now.
Mike June 29, 2012 at 03:57 PM
This is APPALLING!! We need to wake up and turn this one around, and AUDIT the city to see where the money is going. Under the existing TWICE-a-week contract: -the annual trash bill is $426 ($106.50 per quarter). Under the new ONCE-a-week contract -the annual trash bill is $378 ($94.50 per quarter), So, we get HALF the trash collection, and save a mere 11% on the cost. And that's IF that cost "savings" even happens. (It's a CONTRACT, right, so why is the supposed savings "projected" rather than certain?!) This is our city government RIPPING US OFF, pure and simple. A mere six years ago, our twice-a-week trash collection cost us $66.50 per quarter. Now it costs almost double that, $106.50. And the cost is about to nearly double again, but this time it's hidden by cutting the service in half rather than raising the price. How many of us are making 3 times what we made six years ago? Well, it appears that SOMEBODY is...with our tax money.
Jenny Clagett July 16, 2012 at 11:37 AM
The city council upped the trash removal fees 150% so that they could then claim it needed to be privatized and the so-called savings of $46 will equal 10% a year. something smells rotten to me. Every time a governmet service gets privatized residents are told they will save money. But the truth is the so called savings are only temporary an will not just vanish but eventually skyrocket while convenience and quality plummet. I've never seen a mattress make it into the bulk pick up truck. Mattress recycling companies come in early on bulk trash day and pick them up for free. Same with most of the items put out for bulk pick up. So right there the city is going to have to pay more because Bates will be able to make sure they get the pick up fee and at the same time they'll be able to sell the mattress or refrigerator themselves pocketing both a pick up fee from the residents and money on reselling the mattress and appliances, etc.. How are we going to prevent our politicians from being owned by these private companies? There is nothing to stop our politicians from taking campaign donations, getting jobs for their familes with city contractors by these businnesses looking to become Welfare Queens by privatizing
Jenny Clagett July 16, 2012 at 11:37 AM
everything. Our federal government has been taken over by Welfare Queen government contractors. Government contractors do not have a sense of civic duty. They are only interested in ripping off the tax payer providing the lowest level of 'acceptable' work for the most money to maximize profits and finding every means possible to stick it to taxpayer. It's privatization that has corrupted our politicians and has made our taxes balloon. Privatization is CORRUPTION.


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