The City of Omaha makes a big move toward the future of waste collection. They've provided an outline for companies wanting to take over trash, recycling, and yard waste pickup.
City officials did a two-year study to figure out the best solution for everyone that is affordable and environmentally friendly. Mayor Jean Stothert, the Omaha Finance Department, and Omaha Public Works Dept. says they're now taking "Request For Bids" for a long-term solid waste contract.
The companies will have to bid on three options that all include bigger 96-gallon carts. Options vary from collecting trash, recycling, and yard waste separately to combining trash and yard waste. There would no longer be unlimited yard waste pick-up but homeowners could fill their 96-gallon cart, and pay an extra fee to pick up extra yard scraps.
Currently, the city pays $20 million a year and anticipates the cost going up substantially.
"We will choose the best system possible within our current budget. I will not support a tax increase to pay for this contract," Mayor Stothert explained.
— Jake Wasikowski (@jakewasikowski) October 24, 2018
The city also wants automated and semi-automated trucks phased in over time. They've had seven meetings so far with local, regional, and national companies.
Waste Management has been fined multiple times for complaints about pick-up and yard waste delays. They service more than 150,000 homes in the metro.
Kathy Hoberman has called the Mayor's Hotline a couple times.
"I have concerns, I'm very upset, I've recycled for years to know that they don't sort the trash anymore," Hoberman described. "But something needs to be done it's gotten worse instead of better so the fines aren't making any difference."
Bids on the three options are due by the start of January. The Omaha City Council has to approve the recommendation and the new service would start in January 2021.