City Approves 10 Percent Increase to Trash Pickup Services


SAN ANGELO, TX — On June 18, 2024, the San Angelo City Council approved a 10 percent increase in residential trash pickup services, with automatic annual increases of 3.5 percent. The existing trash contract with Republic Services, initially approved in July 2014, was up for renewal starting August 1. City Operations Director Patrick Frerich briefed the council on the new contract.

Frerich negotiated an eight-year extension to the contract, which will immediately increase residential trash pickup rates from $18.18 to $19.87 per residence per month. The scheduled pickups—once per week for trash, every other week for recyclables, and once twice per month for bulk items—will remain unchanged. The rate will automatically increase by 3.5 percent per year through the end of the contract's term on July 31, 2032.

Commercial customers will see no change in dumpster rates. For instance, the cost for a four-yard container with trash pickup will remain at $151.33. However, commercial rates will also increase automatically by 3.5 percent per year.

The 2014 contract included a lower annual automatic rate increase of 2.9 percent.

Mayor Brenda Gunter asked if recycling was valuable. Frerich confirmed it was, noting that San Angelo trash customers currently divert about 300 tons of recycled material from the landfill each month. However, the goal of 500 tons per month, established in the 2014 contract, was never met. The primary reason is the exclusion of glass, the heaviest recyclable material.

“There’s just not a market for glass,” explained Frerich.

In the new contract, Republic Services and the City eliminated the $0.50 penalty charged to residential customers each month if the citywide 500 tons of recyclables were not collected.

Notably, the new contract includes the establishment of a local telephone service center in San Angelo. For the past 10 years, service centers for Repubic Services were consolidated in Arizona. Frerich believes the local representatives will provide better customer service for residents. This move will also create several local jobs, with hiring anticipated to begin immediately following the council's approval. The local call center is expected to open on August 1.

Republic Services also agreed to reduce the impact of fuel surcharges. In the 2014 agreement, Republic could add fuel surcharges to monthly bills if the cost of diesel exceeded $4 per gallon. Frerich noted that surcharges were enacted twice over the past 10 years. For the new contract, starting August 1, the threshold for adding fuel surcharges increases to $4.50 per gallon, with the surcharge amount reduced by 3 percent.

“The benchmark is higher, and the surcharge is lower,” Frerich explained.

Finally, Republic Services will redirect its $10,000 annual scholarship program, which saw low participation due to its taxable nature, to the City's Keep San Angelo Beautiful program.

Texas Disposal Systems (TDS), a recycling innovation company based in Creedmore and headed by San Angelo native Bob Gregory, had competed for the 2014 contract but lost the bid. TDS maintains a local office in San Angelo and has hundreds of customers in the region. Jay Howard of TDS expressed his hope that the council would consider a shorter contract duration and open the trash collection service contract for competitive bids. He estimated the two contracts, the original 2014 contract and the contract discussed Tuesday, are worth well over $100 million each. In our previous investigation, we estimated the 20-year term of the renewable 2014 contract to be worth $250 million. The new trash contract includes a two-year renewal option, extending its potential duration to 2034.

Acting on a motion by Councilman Harry Thomas, seconded by Councilwoman Lucy Gonzalez, the council voted 7-0 to approve the new contract and modify city ordinances to accommodate it. The council will read the agenda item again on July 2. Assuming no objections arise during the second reading, the contract will be approved and set to start on August 1, 2024.

The bulk collection is twice per month and is not changing with the Aug 1 contract. We incorrectly reported that the current bulk collection was once per month. After reviewing the tape, Harry Thomas made the motion.

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