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Village switches to less expensive trash hauler

August 18, 2010 - In a world where it seems like expenses do nothing but constantly increase, Oxford Village residents will be happy to learn that one of their monthly bills is about to go down.

Beginning Sept. 1, village residents will pay $11.31 per month for the weekly collection of their trash and recyclable waste. They currently pay $14.22 under the municipality's contract with Waste Management, which expires Aug. 31.

The reason for the reduction the village is switching trash haulers.

Last week, council voted 3-0 to award a three-year contract to the Flint-based Richfield Equities LLC. The contract is expected to come back to council for final approval at its Aug. 24 meeting.

Despite the change, residential trash/recyclable collection will continue on Thursdays for the entire village.

Richfield Equities serves about 127,000 households through its 56 municipal contracts and approximately 60,000 households via subscription contracts, according to Dan Garman, a sales representative for the company. The company was recently awarded the Village of Lake Orion's contract.

Richfield will be handling Oxford Village's 1,087 residential customers along with providing and servicing the downtown's 18 trash dumpsters and two recycling dumpsters.

The residential price will increase to $11.60 per month in the contract's second year and $11.91 in the third year.

Downtown businesses will notice a significant savings in the monthly fee for their 18 trash dumpsters. The price is decreasing from $173.56 to $100 per dumpster.

That price will increase to $105 in the contract's second year and $110 in the third year.

However, downtown businesses will notice a significant increase in the cost their two recycling dumpsters, which will go from $100.43 to $150 per dumpster per month.

That cost will increase to $155 in the contract's second year and $160 in the third year.

Five companies bid for the contract, including the Oxford-based Odd Job Disposal, Inc.

"You're all very, very close," said Councilman Tom Benner. "It was a tough decision."

Although he professed a "respect" for "local companies," Councilman Tony Albensi ultimately made the motion to go with Richfield Equities because of the "valuable services" the company offers its customers.

Richfield will provide the village government with 1,000 residential recycling bins, each with an 18-gallon capacity, free of charge.

However, according to village Manager Joe Young, council has to decide whether or not to charge residents for the bins.

Residents who are disabled or otherwise unable to bring their trash and recyclables to the curb can call either the village or Richfield and the company will pick it up at their door for no extra charge.

Whenever they need to, residential customers who require additional waste removal will be allowed to dump it themselves at the company's 360-acre landfill in Genesee County's Richfield Township. The service is free of charge, but the limit is one dump per month per household.

Curbside, Richfield Equities will pick up two bulky items per week per household at no additional charge. That number can be increased for special situations or if the company's given advanced notice.

For households that wish to recycle their large items, Richfield offers its "Trash It" program to those who request it.

Under this program, each resident is provided with an unlimited number of large item pickups each year. It operates on a five-day per week basis and participants can schedule bulk-item pickups by calling 1-888-TRASH-IT (1-888-872-7448) or by visiting www.888trashit.com.

As part of the Trash It program, each bulk item is judged as to whether its recyclable, salvageable or disposable.

If it can be used again and donated to a charity, the resident receives a tax donation receipt. If it can't be reused, the item goes to the landfill.

There is a per-item curbside pickup charge for the Trash It program that ranges from $5 for a tire or propane tank to $15 for a couch or refrigerator. For three or more items, the prices range from $50 for five yards to $200 for 20 yards.

For those residents who wish to have bulk items removed from inside their home, Richfield offers a full-service option. A fully-licensed and bonded staff does all the lifting and loading from anywhere in the house.

The full-service charges range from $5 to $20 per item, depending on what it is. For three or more items, the cost ranges from $75 for five yards to $300 for 20 yards.

The Trash It program's special service charges will only be billed to residents who've chosen to participate in it.

In order to encourage sending less waste to the landfill and increase the number of active recyclers, Richfield offers a "Rewards for Recycling" program.

The program keeps track electronically of who's recycling and how often they're doing it. Residents are then eligible for various rewards, such as special coupons from local businesses, based on their level of participation as recyclers.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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