An initiative among several Loudoun towns has landed them new trash and recycling collection prices that might have been unattainable if they hadn’t banded together.
Earlier this year, the Loudoun towns of Hamilton, Hillsboro, Lovettsville, Middleburg, Purcellville and Round Hill, along with the Town of Haymarket in Prince William County, jointly solicited trash and recycling companies to manage collections in their towns—for a total of about 5,000 customers. The goal was to get a more favorable rate than the towns could have obtained if they sought trash collection contractors individually.
On July 1, Middleburg and Round Hill signed onto four-year deals with American Disposal Services, giving them all a per-unit monthly price of $19.29. Hillsboro plans to sign on next month. While Hamilton and Lovettsville are looking to do the same soon, Purcellville and Haymarket backed out of the venture entirely.
Hamilton is still locked into an existing contract with American, in which it pays $17.58 per unit each month—coming out to be $4,026 each month for 229 customers. But that price will increase to $19.34 per unit per month if the town remains under its existing contract, which expires in 2023—meaning the town would be paying about $403 more each month.
Town Treasurer Tina Staples said the town is working to take advantage of American’s $19.29 rate as soon as it can, to achieve a $12 per month savings compared with the current contract.
Haymarket Town Manager Chris Coon said the town backed out of the joint venture because the town was able to keep its contract with AAA Recycling & Trash Removal for $4.09 less per unit per month than what American proposed to provide the towns.
The town’s new contract with AAA, which began in April, costs the town $15.20 per unit each month—coming out to be about $7,100 each month for about 465 customers. That represents a $1,900 monthly cost savings over a contract with American.
The Town of Hillsboro is the only town that will see a cost savings from the new $19.29 per unit monthly rate with American—a savings of about $247 each month for the town’s 32 customers, excluding administrative and processing costs. The town currently pays American $27 per unit per month under its existing contract, which will expire in August.
Lovettsville is still locked into an existing contract with American until November, in which it pays $17.48 per unit per month—coming out to be close to $15,000 each month for 850 customers.
Project Manager Greg Tkac said the town will need to decide whether it will enter into the new contract with American before November or work out a new contract on its own. If it does take advantage of the $19.29 per unit monthly rate, it will spend about $1,400 more each month than it currently does.
Middleburg previously was payingBates Trucking Co. a rate of $12.50 per unit per month—coming out to be about $6,250 per month for nearly 500 customers. Although the town is now paying $3,400 more monthly than it was before,Town Manager Danny Davis said the townwas expecting to see that increase, since the previous rate was set nearly a decade ago.
He said the most beneficial aspect of the joint solicitation was that Middleburg received more proposals from trash contractors than it would have if it solicited proposals on its own. Davis said that was because Middleburg has a relatively small number of customers, which deters many trash companies from considering providing the town with service.
According to Purcellville Administration Director Hooper McCann, the town backed out of the joint venture because the $19.29 per unit monthly cost represented a large increase in cost that “wasn’t fiscally responsible for the town to move forward with.”
The town currently pays $15.48 per unit per month—coming out to be about $41,000 each month for 2,634 customers. Along with additional costs the town would have been required to pay if it entered into the new contract with American, such as for pickup from municipal dumpsters, the town would have been paying about $26,000 more per month.
While the town’s existing contract, which is in its final extension period, with American expires at the end of November, town leaders are looking to extend that contract another year in light of the national state of emergency.
Round Hill was previously paying Patriot Disposal about $15 per unit per month—coming out to be about $3,750 each month for 250 customers. Although the town is now paying about $1,100 more each month for trash and recycling collection, Town Administrator Melissa Hynes said the joint solicitation benefitted the town in three ways—it provided the town with a less expensive rate than it likely would have received if it solicited companies on its own; it brought recycling service back; and it provided town leaders with new ideas.
Hynes estimated the town might have saved somewhere around $1.70 per unit per month by soliciting responses jointly with other towns, since, she said, collection prices might have gone up to around $21 per unit per month if the town had contracted a company on its own.
Under the town’s previous contract with Patriot, the items residents were placing on the curb for recycling weren’t being recycled because, Hynes said, the cost to recycle was too high for Patriot. She said that was a big concern of many residents.
The town also was able to engage in dialogue with six other towns, which provided its leaders with new ideas on what they should expect when dealing with trash and recycling collection companies in the future.
Moving Past 2024
No matter when Hamilton and Lovettsville decide to jump onto the new contract with American, the contract with every town will expire June 30, 2024. Once that happens, the towns jointly or individually might look to put out an invitation for bids, rather than a more detailed request for proposals, to solicit new rates from trash contractors. Middleburg Town Clerk Rhonda North, who helped to spearhead the initiative, said the towns also might look to extend their contracts with American another four years to 2028.