By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – Hot Springs city residents who receive municipal garbage services can expect a near $2 per month increase beginning with their January 2021 bill as the city transitions to new provider Sander Sanitation.
The Hot Springs City Council finalized its one-year agreement with Sander at Monday night’s Jan. 4 meeting where a number of other annual housekeeping items were approved.
The changeover from the previous provider – Fall River Sanitation to Sander Sanitation – was the result of Fall River Sanitation requesting, at the Dec. 7, 2020, council meeting, that their contract for Solid Waste and Recycling Collections and Disposal Contract with the city to be terminated effective Dec. 31, 2020, instead of Dec. 31, 2021. According to letter submitted to the city by Fall River Sanitation, the contract was agreed to be for five years, beginning in January 2016 which means it should have expired at the end of 2020. The signed contract however contained a typo which says it lasts through December 2021, which would have been a total six years.
Following an executive session on Dec. 7, which looked at the various bids to takeover the contract, Sander Sanitation was selected based on their low bid of $10.34 per 96-gallon container per month, which was a slight decrease from the previous $10.40 charged by Fall River Sanitation.
However, after further discussion and clarification of the contract and the desire of the mayor and council to only agree to a one-year, emergency contract to fulfill the remainder of Fall River Sanitation’s six-year agreement, and then seek bids after 2021 for a multi-year agreement, the rates submitted by all of the bidders were then increased. Sander Sanitation was again determined as the lowest bidder, but their rates increased from $10.34 to $12.34 per container for 2021 only.
Fred Folsom with Sander Sanitation was present at this past Monday night’s council meeting and explained his company’s need to increase their original bid $2 per month.
“I want to be a partner with the community ... I want a long-term relationship with the city and its got to be a win-win. If it’s not a win-win arrangement, then I prefer a no-deal,” Folsom said as he explained how allocating assets to provide municipal garbage services to Hot Springs represents a significant investment on his part and that he would prefer a four-year contract at the lower rate, but is willing to do only a one-year at the higher rate. “This truly represents a win-win from my side of the table.”
“If I lose this contract in a year, it has not been a good deal for me,” he said. “But my hope is that we build a long-term relationship. That’s my hope.”
Following the unanimous approval of the contract, it was stated that Sander would begin garbage pickup the following day on Tuesday, Jan. 5. It was pointed out that the routes and schedules for garbage pick up will be the same as it was previously with Fall River Sanitation. Those who want recycling receptacles will receive them from Sander by the end of the month. Costs for those will be $3.98 per month, which is a slight decrease from the $4.07 previously being charged.
“You won’t have anybody work harder for you and I will be available for anything that comes up and I look forward to serving the community of Hot Springs,” Folson stated at the conclusion of his comments.
During his comments at the end of the meeting, Hot Springs Mayor Bob Nelson said after the transition of services from Fall River Sanitation to Sander Sanitation is completed, any questions or concerns can be directed to Sander at 673-3174. Prior to the complete transition, questions may be directed to City Hall at 745-3135.