NORMAN — City officials want to switch from a weekly curbside recycling service to service every other week.
Bins would be traded for “polycarts,” which have wheels, a lid and would hold more material, Utilities Director Ken Komiske said.
Residents currently pay $3 per month for the service, and that would not change, Komiske said.
A contract with Waste Management, which provides the curbside recycling service, is about to expire.
Proposals have been submitted to the city by Waste Management and Republic Services Inc. for a new five-year contract, both based on a biweekly service. City officials also have studied how much it would cost if the sanitation department took over the operation, providing biweekly service.
Going to a biweekly service is more cost-effective than keeping a weekly service, Komiske said.
In a study session Tuesday, most council members said they favor awarding a contract to Republic Services, which operates 75 recycling centers in the United States.
Two councilmen, Tom Kovach and Greg Jungman, favor turning over the service to the sanitation department.
“We would get better customer service from our guys. With someone else, it's not like you can tap them on the shoulder and say ‘fix it,' and they will,” Kovach said.
Both Kovach and Jungman said they have received complaints from constituents about Waste Management's customer service.
No matter who gets the contract, council members unanimously favor the city buying its own wheeled carts for the service.
Republic has submitted a base bid for a five-year contract of $3.5 million. Waste Management offered the same service for $3.7 million. Those amounts are if the city buys the polycarts.
If the city were to assume responsibility for the operation on a five-year basis, it would probably cost about $3.6 million, Komiske said. That amount does not include the cost of buying three new compressed natural gas sanitation trucks and about 30,000 polycarts, he said.
No matter who gets the contract, cardboard will be added as a recyclable item, Komiske said. The current service excludes cardboard but accepts paper, plastics, glass and aluminum.