-1.1 C
Friday, March 31, 2023

St. Paul City Council grudgingly approves $69 rate hike with Eureka Recycling

By 2023, recycling costs for St. Paul households will have more than doubled.

This year, only Eureka Recycling replied to a request for bids from St. Paul Public Works for curbside recycling collection service, and their prices were far more than what locals were used to paying.

Recently, the city reissued the request for proposals, and once again, only Eureka Recycling submitted a bid; it was slightly more beneficial to ratepayers than Eureka Recycling’s previous offer, but it was still relatively high in comparison to its existing contracts with St. Paul, Roseville, and other nearby cities.

Recycling rates for one- to four-unit buildings in St. Paul will climb from $60 to $129 beginning in 2023 after the City Council on Wednesday authorized a $69 one-year rate hike. The 2023 charge for multi-unit dwellings will be $65.69 per unit.

Members of the council were dissatisfied with the steep fee increase and requested Public Works Director Sean Kershaw to seek savings opportunities during negotiations of a new multi-year contract with Eureka scheduled to begin in early 2023.

The rate “we’re not happy about that we’re putting forward,” Kershaw said to the municipal council.

On Thursday, I tried calling Eureka Recycling, but my call was not answered.

Councilwoman Jane Prince said, “That’s a huge increase for our folks, for the property owners.” These rates are not typical of what this vendor offers in the other cities it serves. To me, the price is outrageous, especially considering that this is a highly reliable supplier.

President of the Council Amy Brendmoen said that recycling is still less expensive than garbage pickup. The average weekly cost for residential garbage collection is $6, while the new recycling fee of $2 is a significant increase over the previous recycling fee of $1.

She said that during contract talks five years ago, the city strongly recommended that Eureka, which employs about 100 people, keep its labor peace agreement in place. Drivers for the charity are unionized, but factory employees are not. According to Brendmoen, “we haven’t had a conversation about this in detail for five years.” We can’t just say, “Paying our employees a living salary will cost a lot of money.”

Kershaw pointed out that the financial benefits of recycling may not be immediately apparent. Recycling trucks have a harder time maneuvering in cities than in the suburbs, but cities also generate more material to be sorted, crushed, and sold.

Picking up in urban areas is difficult due to increased density, but this is a positive, according to Kershaw. As the saying goes, “in a central city, you can pick up more from the ground.”

Rates for residential trash collection, which are negotiated by the city with a consortium of carriers, are predicted to rise by 5 to 9 percent in the next year, with total annual fees ranging from $250 to $466 depending on the size of the cart.

The rates are valid from January 1 through September 30 for owners of single-family homes to multi-family units.

Next October, once the city’s five-year contract expires, prices may vary if services are modified. Though no decisions have been made, a waste advisory group did provide the city council with a broad range of suggestions in September that might be integrated into a new call for bids. It is also possible to renegotiate the current contract.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles