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Summit County reviews $4 million contract for trash collection

Alexander Cramer
The proposed new trash collection contract with Republic Services includes $1,000 daily fines for certain performance failures.

The Summit County Council is set to reconsider the county’s contract with Republic Services for waste collection. The $4 million deal is more than 6% of the county’s annual budget.

Trash pickup might seem like an afterthought, the kind of thing that only gets attention when it goes wrong. But the service costs millions of dollars each year and ties in directly with some of the county’s highest priorities involving greenhouse gasses and recycling.

Summit County Manager Tom Fisher said there were some issues with Republic Services' trash collection five or six years ago, but those have improved in recent years.

The proposed deal costs around $4 million annually and reflects price increases found across industries. It includes, for example, a fuel cost of $5.60 per gallon.

Fisher said the council will likely discuss that at its meeting Wednesday, as well as the contract’s overall price tag.

“It's higher than it has been in the past. We've certainly seen a lot of different costs go up just on everything lately. So it affects the way we collect garbage and recycling as well," he said. "You know, we started this process last year. It takes quite a long time to get through the process of selecting a new contractor for this. These are long-term contracts, so we want to be very careful about what we do.”

The Summit County Council is scheduled to meet in open session at 2:05 p.m. Wednesday at the Richins Building, 1885 W. Ute Blvd. at Kimball Junction. The meeting will also be streamed on the county’s Facebook page and via Zoom.

Starting just before 1 p.m., the council will meet behind closed doors for an hour to discuss purchasing land. Fisher did not share details about the closed session.

“You know, I can't give the specifics, of course, but you know, I think you're going to see a lot of property acquisition closed sessions, because there is the $50 million bond,” Fisher said.

The county received the voter-approved open space bond money in recent weeks. Fisher said the county is in the process of appointing 21 people to serve on various committees to determine how to dole it out.

Other items on the council’s agenda include a discussion about whether to charge money to use the county’s electric vehicle charging stations and a continued discussion about a landscaping ordinance aimed at conserving water.

The council will also discuss the proposed RAP tax cultural grants, which are about $1.2 million this year.

Alexander joined KPCW in 2021 after two years reporting on Summit County for The Park Record. While there, he won many awards for covering issues ranging from school curriculum to East Side legacy agriculture operations to land-use disputes. He arrived in Utah by way of Madison, Wisconsin, and western Massachusetts, with stints living in other areas across the country and world. When not attending a public meeting or trying to figure out what a PID is, Alexander enjoys skiing, reading and watching the Celtics.