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City of Omaha assessing bids for next trash removal contract

Posted at 9:29 PM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 23:21:50-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — This is what Omaha's trash pickup looks like right now: Carts without lids or wheels and trucks that run on alternative fuel. That's something Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert is looking for.

Four trash collecting companies have submitted bids for Omaha's solid waste contract. FCC Environmental, Waste Connections of Nebraska, West Central Sanitation, and Waste Management of Nebraska have all submitted bids.

"As of January 1 2020, there will be no trash pickup in the city of Omaha if we do not negotiate and sign a new contract," Mayor Stothert said.

The bidding companies are required to provide a system that uses automated trucks and covered carts that collect garbage, recyclables and yard waste. Costs must be provided for three potential options, according to the city:

- Three carts – one for garbage, one for yard waste and one for recyclables. Garbage and yard waste would be collected separately each week. Recyclables would be collected every other week.

- Three carts – Co-mingled garbage and yard waste would be collected weekly in two carts, and recyclables would be collected every other week in one cart.

- Two carts – Co-mingled garbage and yard waste would be collected weekly in one cart, and recyclables would be collected every other week in one cart

More information can be found at Wasteline.

The mayor has a team that will pick one of the four companies bidding to become the next service for the city. The city has input from the public in documents that pile up to the size of a phone book.

Some Omaha taxpayers thought they would have to pay more, so they shared their thoughts on the mayor's Facebook page.

One commenter asked why homeowners can't pay for themselves. Nebraska state law says metropolitan-sized cities can't force homeowners to directly pay.

"Talking about repealing present taxes isn't something we can consider because it would cause a severe cut in all departments," the Mayor said.

The city only wants to work with the money out of the general fund that pays for the current waste removal contract. That money also funds other city departments like police, fire and parks.

Making Omaha's garbage service more modern is the Mayor's vision for now as the city falls behind most of the country in that service area.

"We want a more modernized system," Mayor Stothert said. "We want an automated system, it will decrease injuries. We want the covered bins. We found in our pilot of 2,500 households that the amount of recycling went up substantially when you had the covered recycle bins."