MISHAWAKA -- City residents will see a new trash rate on their utility bills in January, a rate that will remain steady as the city sticks with BFI Waste Services of Indiana for the next four years.
And BFI will swap out their customers' 18-gallon crates for recycling with much bigger 65-gallon bins with wheels and lids. Those likely would arrive in the first three months of 2013, David B. Moss, general manager locally for Republic Services, told the city council Monday.
All of this is part of the new, four-year contract that the Mishawaka Common Council voted 9-0 to approve Monday.
Residents currently pay $11.68 per month (or $9.35 for seniors) for trash removal. That will rise to $12.77 per month (or $10.22 for seniors).
It looks like an increase, but in a way it isn't.
The current charge has been an average of the rates over the past four-year contract with BFI, which rose year-by-year from $10.89 to $12.77 (or $8.72 to $10.22 for seniors), said the city's staff attorney, Geoff Spiess.
The new contract freezes the rate at the 2012 level.
What won't change is the $1 administrative fee that customers already pay, along with the fuel surcharge of 1 percent if diesel prices are $2 and $4 per gallon, or 2 percent if prices exceed $4, Spiess said.
BFI offered the four-year deal as it and the city were negotiating for a possible one-year contract extension, he said.
Spiess told the council that he got involved when questions arose as to whether that was legal. He said he checked the state code and found that it was.
He said the city feels it's a good rate considering that it will hold steady based on the current contract, which was bid competitively four years ago. Also, he said, the feedback on BFI's service has been good.
Council member Mike Compton, D-5th, voted for it but still questioned whether the city could have gotten a better deal if it had sent the contract out for bids, adding, "I know there's a lot of competition out there."
Dale "Woody" Emmons, D-1st, gave one piece of feedback on the service. In the 1st District, he said, there have been problems when crews leave emptied trash cans up-side-down, allowing trash to fly away. He prefers the cans to stay upright. But Moss noted how upright cans fill up with rain water.
Staff writer Joseph Dits: