Farmington City Council discussed solid waste operations during its June 10 work session. Public Works Director Katy Gehler provided a regulatory review of solid waste management, processing options and limitations available to the city.
When comparing solid waste rate comparisons to other cities last year, Gehler said Farmington is competitive. In 2019 and 2020, the cost increases were due to the processing requirements. Gehler said the city's current recycling contract expires at the end of 2019.
Farmington is an organized collection and the city has one collector, but it also must process their municipal solid waste. Private haulers currently landfill waste, Gehler said. She added that she expects a correction in the industry, but this has yet to happen.
When it comes to recycling, Dakota County seeks weekly pickup by cities but a recent county survey showed that recycling containers are not full and, for the most part, residents use every other week recycling collection.
City Council member Katie Bernhjelm questioned if private haulers would fare better with changing regulations on where waste is disposed, but Gehler said that regulations are more on the city and where they decide to landfill the city's waste is a bigger issue for private haulers.
City Council member Joshua Hoyt said he would like the city to look 10 years down the road on disposal options and does not want the city fall behind.
Farmington Mayor Todd Larson asked if the playing field will level out once everything needs to be processed. Gehler answered she believed that would be the case.
Gehler added that the plan was to transition the city cleanup days in 2020 and the city will pick up a fee type of program with residents working directly with a contracted service provider due to the continued increasing cost to dispose of solid waste and the desire to use the money from cleanup day to offset some of the increases in solid waste disposal costs.
Gehler said there is a 10-12 month lead time to extend the contract by a year.
The council's consensus was to work to extend the current contract by one year and share the recycling haulers that weekly collection with be the city's goal soon.