Ravenna City Council's Finance Committee gave the go-ahead to seek bids for a citywide trash pickup. However, several council members say they expect the bids will be so high that the program will be trashed.
Several residents and business owners came to Monday's meeting hoping that council would decide to scrap the program.
Councilman Frank Seman told Richard Loftin, owner of Fabet Waste, that he doesn't think Loftin would lose any customers, because even if the city decides to implement the program, Loftin's customers will be able to opt out.
"I don't want your business to be affected by one customer," he said. "We have no idea what the costs are. So let's find out. I think they're going to be way too high."
Several council members stressed that just seeking bids doesn't mean the program will be implemented, and it is too premature to decide if the program will be put on the ballot, as some have suggested. If the costs are too high, they said, the program will not go any further.
Loftin and his customers said the program would hurt local haulers, because they wouldn't be able to compete with larger ones.
Chris Leeseberg of Cimmaron Lounge said his business has no place to put a Dumpster, so he has his trash hauled three times a week. He said after R&R Sanitation won the bid from Kent, his costs increased. He said he called Fabet, which cut his bills by 33 percent.
He added that the city's proposal, which also would require that all trash in each ward must be picked up on the same day, would not work for his business.
Resident Steve Miley said the city's hauler would affect seniors and people with disabilities, who can't take their trash to the curb. Local haulers like Fabet, he said, offer services that work with such people.
"Can we be that cold to our seniors?" he said.
In related news, the committee agreed to seek bids for a community cleanup this summer. Bidders can decide to pick up items on one weekday city-wide, or one day per ward. There would be no Saturday pickup.
At Loftin's request, council also added another option that would offer a centralized place to put a bin instead of curbside pickup. However, several council members said they were concerned that such a program would be too big of a change for residents, particularly seniors, who may not have a way to take their items to the Dumpsters.
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