Although communitywide garbage and recycling collection is expected to save Sylvania Township residents 25 percent or more on their annual bills, township officials will conduct an online survey to assess public opinion before deciding whether to adopt either of two rival companies' bids for a contract.
The township board of trustees decided recently that such a survey - for which copies also would be available at township offices for those who lack Internet access - would make sure residents would prefer a communitywide service to making their own refuse-collection arrangements.
The township also will hold community forums about the idea, starting next week.
Trustee Kevin Haddad, whose campaign platform last fall included a pledge to pursue townshipwide recycling, said the township should award a contract without hesitation.
"We're the wealthiest community in the county, but we're the last ones to get garbage and recycling going," he said. "We need to get it in place, get it moving."
But colleague John Jennewine said he wants assurance that a significant part of the community wants government-hired refuse collection, and an online survey would be a satisfactory way to take that pulse.
"People live in the township for a reason, and part of that is the ability to choose things like this," Mr. Jennewine said.
Sylvania Township residents now contract for their own garbage collection and, if they desire it, for recycling pickup.
Mr. Haddad said the typical township resident now pays about $170 annually for garbage pickup only and at least $220 for garbage pickup plus recycling.
Bids the township received from Allied Waste and Waste Management ranged from $130 to $160 annually per household for garbage and recycling pickup, with terms of three to five years and rates varying depending on the type of service and whether a fuel surcharge is imposed if the price of diesel fuel rises above $3 a gallon.
Either firm also would offer a modest senior-citizen discount on the grounds that empty-nesters tend to generate less waste than families with children.
Besides the lower expected cost to residents from a community-wide contract, officials say such a service would require just one or two truck trips a week for pickups instead of different trucks on different days for each garbage company serving its own customers.
The survey was added to the township Web site late last week.
Community forums have been scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m. and Sept. 29 at 7 p.m., both in the Sylvania Senior Center, and for Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. and Oct. 5 at 7 p.m., both in the Sylvania Township Hall.
Although the contractors' bids officially expire by early November, representatives of both Allied Waste and Waste Management said during the trustees' meeting last week that they would allow the township up to 120 days to make a decision.
They also said that residents with individual pickup contracts would get refunds for any part of those arrangements superseded by townshipwide collection.