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Council considers proposal to use tote containers for trash pickup


Tecumseh’s current contract for weekly trash pickup with Stevens Disposal expires June 30, leaving six weeks and two city council meetings for elected officials to decide how city residents will place their trash, recyclables and yard waste at the curb.

Discussion has been ongoing with Stevens since April when the company proposed the use of 96 gallon tote containers for recyclables for pickup on an every-other-week schedule. Yard waste and trash pickup would continue on a weekly basis, as proposed.

Currently, there is no set limit on the number of bagged trash residents may leave at the curb; recyclables are picked up weekly in 18-gallon containers; and yard waste is picked up weekly in marked containers or Kraft paper bags that residents provide on their own. Limbs and brush can be tied together in four foot length bundles for pickup.

With increasing costs, especially for recyclables, Stevens has proposed using the 96-gallon containers, and, as announced at Monday’s city council meeting, now proposes using a second tote for each household for regular trash. The totes would allow Stevens to use mechanized trucks that can pick up  and empty the totes, eliminating a second worker that currently does the work.

Stevens Disposal would cover the cost of the containers, two per residence, at approximately $500,000, according to Tecumseh City Manager Dan Swallow.

In his review of the proposal, Swallow noted:

• Changing to a one day  per week pickup for the entire city (currently the city is divided with half receiving pickup on Tuesdays and the other on Wednesdays)

• Recycling pickup every other week

• Transition to using 96-gallon totes for both trash and recyclable

• Bulk items limited to one per week with additional items permitted with a paid $10 tag

• Five year contract term

• Cost of service adjustment for recycling

• Three percent annual inflationary increase

Other changes under consideration are shifting yard waste pickup from the beginning of March to mid-March to ending at the end of December instead of mid-December.

In previous meetings, council had concerns over the impact containers would have on the appearance along city streets and where residents would store the totes.

At Monday’s meeting, Mayor Jack Baker said the majority of residents he had spoken with were supportive of the totes, especially for those who complained of animals getting into bags left at the curb.

Council appeared split about the use of totes in a round robin discussion.

Current costs to the city for trash, recyclable and yard waste pickups is $38,498 per month; continuing with the same service Stevens would charge $41,371 under a new five-year contract.

If council adopts Stevens p roposal using the totes, costs will increase to $43,956 per month under a five-year contract.

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