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Garbage costs going up, parish considering options
BATON ROUGE - Pay more, get less. It's not exactly an enticing sales pitch, but in East Baton Rouge Parish it may be the new reality when it comes to garbage collection.
The cost of just about everything is going up these days. The price of a new garbage truck is up about $100,000 in the past three years. The City-Parish says to offset that, the price is going up and for a while, what you get is going down.
"We did everything we could to negotiate those numbers," Transportation Director Fred Raiford said.
Republic Services contract with the parish is expiring on March 1, 2023. In March of this year, the parish started putting out feelers for a new contract and three companies responded. Those are Waste Management, WastePro, and Republic Services. The parish is interested in the latter because it is the most affordable option.
"Republic was the one that we wanted to look at due to the technical evaluation but also from a price aspect," Raiford said.
The parish is considering two options, in both of them Republic Services would no longer pick up debris left on the curb like woody waste. Richards Disposal, Inc won the bid for that project. The new options include the charges from both companies. Once a week garbage, recycling, and trash collection for $28.50 a month or twice a week garbage and once a week recycling and trash collection for $38 a month. An extra bin will cost $7.
Just three years ago, once a week collection was unheard of in Louisiana. Brittany Weiss asked about it at a news conference.
"Once a week service is not common in Louisiana, it is common in other parts of the country but I think we have some unique geographic and cultural and food issues that people enjoy and as long as it's still an affordable service then it's certainly probably one of the best services," Republic Services said.
A lot has changed since then and other cities and parishes in the state have switched to once a week garbage collection.
Republic Services says garbage is seasonal. In EBR, only about half of the customers pull their can to the curb twice a week.
"Anywhere from 50-60% depending on the time of year," said Republic Services General Manager Sharon Mann.
Right now, about 130,000 customers in EBR pay $23 a month for garbage, recycling and trash collection. That fee is broken up, but the bulk of it goes to Republic Services. It also pays for disposal, cart expenses, and administrative costs.
Republic Services says that with the new contract, trucks would be replaced every seven years instead of every six. The new design of the trucks will reduce litter and have surveillance.
"It's going to be able to show if we serviced the resident or it's going to show me if my driver didn't," Mann said.
It could eliminate a lot of calls to 311. In other parishes, people might choose their own garbage collection. EBR says it's looking for uniformed collection on a known schedule by a known entity that they can hold accountable.
Lafayette, Bossier City, Orleans Parish, and New Iberia all have once a week garbage collection. EBR says if once a week garbage collection is selected, it'll have a six-month transition period where twice a week collection will still happen. The Metro Council will vote on the two options next week.
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