Keiser rejects recycling bids, Island Rubbish will continue service
Town Administrator Bruce Keiser told the Town Council at its July 16 meeting that four bids were received for the new recycling contract. Bids were solicited in June.
According to Keiser, Rhode Island law dictates that towns must solicit bids publicly through the newspaper of record when seeking municipal services.
“The options that we had offered, and requested responses to, included continuation of services as they are currently provided, which is every week through manual collection procedures,” Keiser said. “But we also allowed two other options because in the solid waste and recycling industry, naturally with the opportunity for automation and efficiencies that evolve from automation providing for cheaper labor costs, we allowed for an automated truck on a everyweek basis and a automated truck on a every-other-week basis.”
Keiser said that North Kingstown recently decided to have every other-week service because it was the most cost-effective choice.
“It’s difficult to compare a weekly to a biweekly contract,” said Councilman William Murphy. “The question is do we want less service, and I’m thinking the council should weigh in on that.”
Keiser said that Jamestown’s recycling rate has been about “middle of the pack” in terms of the average experience in communities throughout Rhode Island. “We pay approximately $20,000 a year in excess-tipping-fee costs because we don’t meet the state-mandated recycling target of 35 percent,” he said. “We’re at about 25 percent right at the present time, so obviously from a financial standpoint it behooves us to try to increase our recycling rate.”
Keiser said the Recycling Committee proposed the idea of putting a recycling center at the transfer station, which he said could potentially equal cost savings if individuals took recycling there instead of having it picked up curbside.
“The recycling world has changed somewhat significantly,” said Keiser, noting the new singlestream recycling system where more items can be recycled and do not have to be sorted. “We don’t know what that change in volume is going to be with respect to recycling tonnage over the course of a year unless we get some experience under our belt. I think at this point – given that there are program options that we haven’t fully vetted – it’s premature for the town to enter into a five-year contract with any hauler for recycling and curbside pickup.”
The Town Council also discussed how to proceed with the issue of how coastal vegetation was cut too low at Beavertail State Park.
Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero weighed in on the situation saying that the council might not want to act until the state Department of Environmental Management has been invited to discuss the issue to avoid a violation of due process.
During the water and sewer meeting, Town Engineer Michael Gray presented the results of the biannual sampling of local water. Gray reported that, from a sampling of 20 homeowners, the lead concentration was .026 milligrams per liter, which is higher than the action level of .015, though levels are consistently improving.
“It’s a sample of older homes in the community,” said Gray. “I don’t believe it to be a town-wide issue, I just believe that there may be some plumbing in particular homes that have problems.”
Gray added, “We have statistical data from historical sampling rounds and we looked across the board, and what’s been nice is that we’ve had consistent sampling sites so you can see the trends of those sights. What’s important to note is we reduced it significantly. It’s improving.”
Gray also noted that the water supply for Jamestown is in good standing as the reservoirs remain almost at capacity.