The Health, Sanitation, and Public Utilities Committee is considering the purchase of four automated side-arm loading vehicles and 96-gallon containers called toters from Best Equipment Co., which has a facility in the Cleveland area.
Service Director Jon Eckel said the city would save money and its residents would enjoy improved services. "It's important to us that we run the city like a business," he said at last week's committee meeting.
Savings would come from fewer employees and an increase in recyclables that can be sold, Mr. Eckel said. Fewer workers' compensation claims and reduced tipping fees at the landfill also are expected.
Residents would have one toter for garbage and one toter for recycling, in which all recyclable material can be placed, said Judy Hagen, program coordinator for the Office of Litter Prevention and Recycling. "It's just a big stew of recycling," she said.
Two rear-loading garbage trucks still will be used to collect oversized items, handle estate or other special requests, and to go down tight alleys, Mr. Eckel said.
Councilman John Kevern asked whether the savings would mean a reduction in millage for operational levies. Mr. Eckel said he was "cautiously optimistic."
"That is the goal," he said.
He said he toured Bowling Green, which has used a similar system since 2000, and appreciated the "nice, neat uniform cans sitting there at the end of the driveways." He said the trucks in that city made 700 stops a day, one every seven seconds.
Mr. Eckel said now is a good time because pension reform is reducing the number of employees in the refuse department and layoffs would not be needed. He noted Best Equipment had off-lease vehicles in its inventory, which would cost $150,000 to $175,000 each. He requested action on the plan by the next meeting of the Health, Sanitation, and Public Utilities Committee, set for 6 p.m. Oct. 23.
City council meets at 6:30 tonight.