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Regional Waste Management Authority seeks to control costs
A study approved Thursday will help determine whether the Regional Waste Management Authority is getting the best bang for the buck, or if you prefer, garbage services for the greenbacks.
On a unanimous vote, the authority board approved a study of what the region has in such facilities as a transfer station and material recovery facility, what it would cost to establish them anew, and how that translates into service and bills for garbage customers.
Authority administrator Keith Martin said the study, which should be completed by late spring or early summer, doesn't begin with any assumptions about the service customers receive from Recology Yuba-Sutter.
"This would help us to be certain the deal we're getting is the best deal we can get," he said. "It's a high-level review of the situation."
Such a study was called for when the authority's board approved a new franchise agreement with Recology last year to serve member agencies: Yuba and Sutter counties and the cities of Marysville, Yuba City, Live Oak and Wheatland.
What the study will determine is whether it would be cost effective, either publicly or privately, to build a new transfer station for trash collection, for example.
If such a facility was publicly funded, or a contract was long enough for a private vendor to recoup the investment in building it, Martin said, it might pencil out. In turn, it could mean more vendors applying the next time a franchise agreement is up for bid and help lower costs.
"This study is giving us a look to the future to see if we can improve our position in the future," Martin said.
But Dave Vaughn, Recology Yuba-Sutter's vice president and group manager, said before Thursday's meeting he was confident the study wouldn't turn up any surprises.
"The facilities we have are built to handle the amount of materials we see now for a number of years to come," he said. "With respect to the Regional Waste Management Authority, we believe it's impo tant to look at the infrastructure. We also believe they'll find building it new will be costly."
Under the $98,287 contract approved Thursday, Southern California-based Tetra Tech BAS with New Point Group will perform the study, out of an authority rate stabilization and capitalization fund.
David Kuhnen, general manager for Recycling Industries Inc. in Yuba City, asked the authority board on Thursday whether the study would include industry input.
"I'm offering that as a question and whether it's ever going to be considered as part of the study," said Kuhnen, who has called for the franchise agreement to be put up for bid in separate components.
Martin told him the idea would be passed along to the contracted firm, but no guarantees could be made.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at email@example.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.