Lake Country residents and their elected local government representatives will have to make some big decisions this year about garbage collection and recycling of other waste materials.
Many of them may have to decide whether they can afford to continue the 'up-the-drive' service in which haulers pick up garbage and recyclables at the front door or the garage rather than at the roadside.
Residents of single-family homes or farms with long driveways between the residence and the public road or street have become accustomed to the service.
The service is provided by nearly a dozen communities in Waukesha County, including the town and city of Brookfield, town and city of Delafield, town of Waukesha, City of Pewaukee, and villages of Chenequa, Elm Grove, Nashotah, Summit and Oconomowoc Lake.
In addition, the communities will also have to decide whether to accept new hauling contracts that are the product of requests for proposals (RFP) by Waukesha County officials or attempt to negotiate new municipal hauling contracts on their own.
For example, the village of Sussex does not participate in the countywide recycling system because village officials believe it is more cost-effective for the village have its own independent contract for garbage hauling and solid-waste disposal, according to Village Administrator Jeremy Smith.
Lisbon, Big Bend the village of Eagle and Lac La Belle are also not participating because they renewed hauling contracts that do not expire until 2016.
The decisionmaking process will begin for the other communities sometime after May 29, the deadline for hauling companies to respond to the RFP prepared by the Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use on behalf of 20 municipalities that participate in a countywide recycling program.
Under the municipal contracts with the haulers, garbage goes to landfills but the recyclable materials are taken to a county processing center where they are processed and sold by Waukesha County
The county collects the revenues from the sales, pays operating and administrative costs for the program, and then distributes the remaining funds back to communities based on a formula that takes into consideration solid-waste tonnage, recyclables and municipal program costs.
Over the past several years, the amount of revenue and tonnage for recyclables has been declining because of a number of different factors, according to Rebecca Mattano, solid-waste supervisor for the county department of parks and land use.
In an effort to increase recyclable tonnage, process it more efficiently and increase revenues, Waukesha County and the city of Milwaukee are creating a joint recycling center in Milwaukee.
In addition, Waukesha County agreed to develop the RFP for the municipalities in hopes it would create more competition in the regional waste-hauling market and provide more cost-effective waste hauling for local communities.
After the RFPS are analyzed, they will be presented to each municipality with a recommendation from the county.
It will be up to governing bodies of each of the communities to determine whether their community will accept the recommendation or attempt to negotiate a different proposal.
Up the drive?
A major factor in some communities' decisions may be whether the haulers' proposal include up-the-drive service and at what cost.
Mattano said there is no way to predict how many of the haulers will include such service in their contract proposals, although she appeared confident there would be at least one, Advance Disposal Service (ADS), which provides the service to many of its Lake Country municipal clients.
The Town of Delafield is trying to decide whether to accept a new contract offer from ADS or wait until it has received another offer from the RFP.