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New trash cans, lower rates coming in Gary

Updated: December 3, 2012 10:39PM



GARY — Residents will see their garbage rates fall 9 percent — as well as finally receive the long-awaited new trash cans — as a result of a new waste contract the city signed with Houston-based waste-industry giant, Waste Management.

Additionally, nine of 11 positions that come with the Gary contract are guaranteed, and were offered to, Gary residents, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson told a packed Common Council chambers Monday night. So far, five of those positions have been filled, while the remaining four are pending.

Dan Vicari, executive director for the Gary Sanitary District, said the city received two bids for trash collection when it bid out the contract over the summer, and Waste Management was the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. As part of its agreement, Waste Management agreed to keep the customer rates the same through the remainder of 2012.

When the new 5-year contract kicks in January 1st, however, residents will pay $14.40 for their trash pickup, down from the $15.90 they pay now, he said. Over the course of the contract, customers will see a 3 percent increase, but the amount will still be less than $15.90 at its end in 2016.

Bill collections have also gone up considerably since Waste Management took over, Vicari said, up to 75 percent from 50 percent, with 7,700 delinquent bills of 17,000 brought up to date. The city isn’t finished collecting, however.

“There was $607,000 collected in arrearages, but $1.6 million is still out there,” Vicari said. “If anyone thinks we’re going to stop (collecting fees), we’re not.”

The city will still handle recycling through its partnership with Lake County Solid Waste Management, said Waste Managment Marketing Director Kevin Boyce, while Waste Management will handle solid waste removal. The city will start distributing the new 96-gallon trash cans the week of January 7; each of those cans will have a serial number on them so the company can keep track of where they belong. Those who want larger recycling bins will be able to request them from the city.

Residents will also be allowed to dispose of one bulk item per week as well as their branches as long as the branches are cut and bundled into no more than 50-pound bundles, Boyce said. Yard waste, such as grass, is allowed in the trash cans but leaves are not per the state.

Trash pickup days will remain the same for everyone, he added.



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