BERLIN – Town officials are exploring the possibility of outsourcing trash collection.
Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood said this week that the town would be issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to get pricing from companies that could handle the town’s trash and recycling collection.
“I want to explore it to see if there are any cost savings,” Fleetwood said.
In a closed session meeting earlier this month, the council approved Fleetwood’s request to issue an RFP regarding trash pickup. That RFP is expected to be released this week with bids due back by March 20.
“I’m not telling you this is going to happen,” Fleetwood said. “This is going out to see if there’s any cost savings.”
Currently, the town spends roughly $500,000 a year on sanitation. That figure, according to Fleetwood, includes salaries for the three-person department and tipping fees but does not factor in the maintenance and wear on department vehicles.
If the town does move forward with hiring an outside company to handle trash pickup, Fleetwood said the employees currently handling that task would be moved to other positions.
“The plan would be to absorb them into another department,” Fleetwood said.
He added that he’d spoken to other municipalities that outsourced their sanitation needs, such as Fruitland, Princess Anne and Delmar, and hadn’t heard anything negative. His final recommendation, however, will depend on the quotes the town receives.
“What I’m looking for is a three-year commitment and pricing per year,” he said.
Fleetwood said in addition to a potentially lower price, another benefit to going to an outside provider would be the addition of single-stream recycling.
“I do think the residents would like that immensely,” he said.
Fleetwood said he was hoping to have prices by the end of March so that if outside trash collection was something the town should pursue, the change could be implemented at the start of the next fiscal year.