County to seek proposals for trash disposal, recycling

Bartholomew County will be looking at proposals for companies to operate all or part of the county’s landfill and other solid waste management district operations such as recycling.

The hope would be that a change could save the county taxpayers $800,000 a year.

Although the county is under a current contract with Rumpke to operate the landfill, the contract is nearing the end of its three-year-life. There are a number of extensions still available.

Columbus City Councilman Frank Miller, the president of the county’s solid waste management district board, is pushing the idea of requesting proposals for the operation of the district’s functions.

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Miller said the county could find savings that could help take the operations off of the county taxpayer altogether.

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The benefit of a request for proposals is that it lets the county write a flexible framework that could then be responded to by interested companies with their own solutions. The county would not be tied to any particular proposal and could pick and choose from the different  submissions or even parts of them.

A formal bidding process is more rigid and if a bidder meets the specific requirements, the county would be obligated to pick that bidder, Miller said.

City and county officials decided to extend the life of the contract by at least one more year yesterday morning, but they also agreed to seek proposals from other companies. Miller said that he hopes to have that request out to interested companies by the end of the year.

Some members of the board said they were concerned about a loss of revenue if the county should move away from Rumpke. In addition to being the contractor that operates the landfill, Rumpke is also the largest customer and it pays fees for every truckload of trash that it dumps. For 2015, the county paid Rumpke $1.2 million to operate the Landfill, but Rumpke brought the county more than $850,000 in revenue.