As Waste Pro contract nears end, commissioners explore options

Buncombe County seal

Hauling Buncombe County’s trash is a pretty thankless business, and county residents have let members of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners know when the service provided by Waste Pro, the current trash and recycling contractor, has fallen short of expectations.

Longwood, Fla.-based Waste Pro’s 10-year contract, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2010, will come to an end on Tuesday, Dec. 31. At the Tuesday, Jan. 15, meeting of the board, commissioners will vote on issuing a request for proposals for collection services in unincorporated parts of the county. The new contract would last five years with the option of two additional two-year extensions.

In a December press release, the county said staff and commissioners plan to consider bids through April 30 and vote on a new contract in May 2019. The county intends to have the chosen contractor in place on Jan. 1, 2020, without a lapse in service.

The county plans to launch a public input survey in mid-January to collect feedback from constituents about waste collection services.

During a meeting in July 2018, commissioners approved staggered rate hikes for the monthly cost of Waste Pro services at the company’s request, which will bring the total monthly fee for trash collection from $14.77 to $16.05 on Monday, April 1. Waste Pro had initially asked for a monthly rate of $17.25.

The 8.7 percent increase in the cost of services is consistent with the growth in the consumer price index since the last Waste Pro rate increase in July 2012.

Commissioners told representatives from Waste Pro during their July 2018 meeting that they had received calls from constituents complaining about the service provided by the company.

“It’s a people business,” Robert Allen, the director of government relations for Waste Pro, told commissioners, “and it sounds really simple that you drive around and pick it up and take it away.” Challenges including new drivers, winding roads and weather, however, get in the way. “Are there going to be misses? Absolutely, but the whole idea is to respond quickly — get out there and get it out.”

In other business

  • Commissioners will vote on a resolution that would allow the Enka-Candler Fire & Rescue Department to construct a new substation on 2.43 acres of property near Enka Intermediate School.
  • Commissioners will hear about funding for $50,000 in transaction costs associated with placing conservation easements on a 166-acre tract in the Sandy Mush community, as well as $13,200 in costs associated with protecting other tracts of land totaling 3.6 acres.

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, in the third floor conference room at 200 College St. in downtown Asheville. Read the full agenda here.

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About David Floyd
David Floyd was a reporter for the Mountain Xpress. He previously worked as a general-assignment reporter for the Johnson City Press.

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