MURDOCK — Trash collection prices will likely rise 74% for residences and 44% for typical businesses in October of 2020 following a 4-1 vote Tuesday by Charlotte County commissioners.

Commissioners approved a new 7-year contract with Waste Management with a rate of $18.91 per month for residential property and $307.74 a month for businesses with an 8-cubic yard container. This includes all of Charlotte County except the city of Punta Gorda that has its own service.

The county must still hold a public hearing on the new rate, Solid Waste Operations Manager Richard Allen told the Sun. Waste Management will also be asking for a new rate for the last year starting in October 2019, Allen said, but that rate has not been negotiated. Waste Management also gets to increase rates annually according to the Consumer Price Index, up to 4%.

These approved rates are lower than what the company had proposed last year, which commissioners rejected, saying it would have added $114 to the annual residential bill. The new rate will add $96.48 to the residential bill.

Service levels such as once-a-week collection will continue aside from an increase in bulk disposal services from 20 cubic yards a year, to 4 cubic yards a week.

“I’m frustrated that it’s going to cost us more,” said commissioner Stephen R. Deutsch, who voted in favor of the new contract.

He added, however: “They do such an exceptionally great job in what they do.”

The one dissenting vote, commissioner Christopher Constance, said he approves of Waste Management’s service, but thinks the county would eventually save money by handling the job in house.

“My concern is there are less and less options out there,” he said, of other companies providing this service. “We could, I think, save a lot of money if we did it ourselves.”

He acknowledged that the start up costs would mean that savings would not show up in the beginning.

Commissioner Ken Doherty said he was reviewing the complex contract for days until he asked his wife’s advice.

“I sat down with my wife and she said, ‘What are you fussing about? It’s $4.36 a week.’”

After the initial contract proposal came in last year, commissioners ordered that the contract go out to bid for the first time in many years instead of just negotiating the contract. Waste Management came in with the lowest bid.

Commissioner Bill Truex said some companies chose not to bid, because the county is so large and population is so dispersed. Other counties have more than one trash collection provider to handle different locations.

Commissioner Joe Tiseo said he found the county’s bid request overly complex, including arcane indices and algorithms.

In trying to figure it out, he said: “I’ll be honest with you. My head was going to explode.”

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