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Onaway DPW?workers may collect trash

November 8, 2012
Jordan Travis - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ONAWAY - City commissioners will consider using Onaway's Department of Public Works employees to collect residential trash within the city.

The city's current three-year contract with a trash hauler will expire on March 31, City Manager Joe Hefele said. Commissioners will seek bids in January, letting prospective haulers know the city would buy a garbage truck and haul trash itself if the city sees an advantage. The city would do so only if it could beat the bids and keep customer costs at the current $8.50 per month.

The city would spend about $23,000 annually to collect and haul residential trash to a landfill five miles outside of town, Hefele said. This includes a per-ton rate charged by Republic Waste, maintenance costs and a monthly payment on a used, $35,000 garbage truck. The estimate doesn't include any additional labor.

"If the contractor can do it cheaper than we can do it, there would be no reason for us to do that," he said.

However, Onaway potentially could use garbage collection revenue to hire an extra DPW employee, Hefele said. Due to dropping revenues, the city had to cut a part-time worker two years ago, and the current crew can't get to as many tasks as the city would like.

"If we were able to do this and the revenue from garbage allowed us to put an additional guy on during the spring, summer and fall when we need them ... there could be a benefit to our taxpayers for doing this," Hefele said.

More DPW manpower likely would be necessary during winter, as the city would need to keep the streets plowed and trash collected on schedule, Hefele said.

Whether this is feasible remains to be seen until the public bid opening in the spring, Hefele said. He anticipated holding no public hearings on the matter in the meantime.

In other business:

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5688.



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