Athens County Council meeting filled to occupancy limit.

Confusion around Athens City Garbage Collection Contract

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The Athens City Council plans to pass an emergency contract extension for trash collection services at its meeting next week.

City Service Safety Director, Andy Stone, requested the extension because of issues in the bidding process for a new three-to-five-year trash collection services contract that would have started July 1. Stone says the city can’t consider the bids from two of the three companies, Athens-Hocking Recycling Centers Inc. (AHRC) and Waste Away Systems, because they don’t have a hauler’s license; Under city code the license the companies cannot provide services without one.

But the process for companies to get a hauler’s license in order to secure the city contract is a mess, something city officials only just discovered.

“Originally there were five (licenses). As those became defunct, we weren’t allowed to accept new haulers,” Ron Lucas Jr, Athens deputy service-safety director said. “So, basically, you start with five and as one company goes out-of business or get absorbed, which happens in the refuse world, you now have four and as it happens again you now have three.”

Lucas said what happened was a fault in city codes and legislation.

“As it’s currently written, companies do not apply for a hauler licenses and the law would not even allow for AHRC or Waste Away to get a license,” he said.  “That’s a problem with the code and we’re going to address it.”

AHRC has provided trash collection services under contract since 2015 when it was separated from the Athens Solid Waste District and became its own non-profit. Up until then, the hauler’s license requirement did not apply to AHRC. Since the split, it hasn’t had a hauler’s license the entire time it’s been contracted by the city.

“When AHRC, a non-profit, split from Athens-Solid Waste district in 2015, it changed the game in terms of us being able to directly contract with them without competitive bidding process,”  Lucas said. “We are going to just work through it, in terms of making sure our legislature matches our processes better in the future.”

Council said the goal is to have both companies rebid within the next six to 12 months.