Stothert discusses city trash contract, addresses concerns at first town hall

Published: Sep. 17, 2018 at 10:22 PM CDT
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Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert addressed a full crowd Monday evening, updating taxpayers on the state of the city, including the city's trash contract.

Monday was the first in a series of town halls hosted by Stothert, with several other city officials present.

One concern raised by those present was bigger trash cans.

"The weight of this 48-gallon and also the 96-gallon, I don't know if I could do the 48-gallon myself by lifting it and carrying it out," said resident Robbin Hays.

The concern comes after the mayor announced changes she hopes to bring with a new trash contract.

"We tried to gather as much info as we can on what people want for their new trash contract," Stothert said at the meeting.

The current contract with Waste Management is set to expire in 2020, so the city is looking at a new contract with other companies. This includes changes like automated collection, 96-gallon carts, limited yard waste and a hefty price tag.

"We want to get this right. We've identified some areas of cost savings, and we want this contract to be the most efficient we can. We want multiple bidders on it, but we also want to make sure it's affordable. We are looking at multiple different ways to save money on that contract," Stothert said.

For Hays, perhaps the biggest change in the contract is the limited yard waste.

"I hope she keeps us in mind, because yard waste is a big thing when you own a home," Hays said.

Stothert said it's a matter of money.

"One thing we just cannot afford to do is say unlimited yard waste for everybody in the city," Stothert said.

The city hopes to request bids for the trash contract by mid-October. It will be several months after that before a bidder is selected for consideration by the city council.

Other topics discussed at the town hall included public safety, riverfront development and job growth within the city.