Eight Out of Nine Refuse Collection Organizations Recommended Autocar

A $1.2 million price tag for new refuse collection trucks prompted city officials to look at alternative options, but ultimately no changes are being made to how trash and recyclables are taken from the curb.

Karen Murphy is the director of public works and spoke at the Midland City Council meeting about the recent need to replace four refuse trucks and how it led to some information gathering on whether in-house or contracted refuse collection services are more financially sound.

The City of Midland currently uses dual stream front load refuse trucks, which allows one driver in one truck to collect both refuse and yard waste from residents, Murphy said. Two trucks are due for replacement in 2015-2016, and two others in 2016-2017.

Each truck costs around $300,000 to replace; a figure that encouraged Murphy and her staff to consider alternative collection methods and meet with a professional consulting company. There were no cost savings to be made by going with a contracted service, Murphy said, and the city is able to offer more pickup services for residents like recycling and heavy items.

“By keeping it in-house, we do have flexibility there,” Murphy said.

Public works staff worked with consulting company Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc. to review its collection services.

“GBB reported back to the city after their search, that they were very surprised how efficient our current dual street collection system was,” Murphy said. “We were really happy to hear that.”

GBB also found that there would be no significant cost savings or efficiencies by converting to automated collection trucks, instead of the semi-automated trucks the city now uses, but ultimately recommended Midland convert to automated collection.

Some drawbacks to automated collection would be the city’s responsibility to maintain the refuse and yard waste carts and the carts posing both storage and maneuvering difficulties, Murphy said.

Midland’s fleet manager, in charge of vehicles used for city operations, then contacted multiple refuse collection organizations to determine the best brand of truck to replace the city’s older models with. Eight out of nine recommended the Autocar cab and chassis, which Murphy said offers a better warranty, fewer breakdowns and better tech support. Autocar also offers the option to become an authorized warranty repair facility, so public works staff could be reimbursed for any quick repair work done on the refuse trucks to get them back on the collection route.

Murphy pointed out there are adequate funds in the city’s budget for the four new garbage collection trucks, and that the recommendation from city staff is to continue with in-house, dual stream refuse collection and purchase AutoCar cabs. The older trucks will then go to an online auction.

Members of the city council thanked the public works staff and Murphy for the research and work done to make sure the current collection method is the best option for the city and its residents.

“I just like the way the decision recommendation was made and how your decisions were reached,” said Tom Adams, Ward 1.
Steve Arnosky, Ward 3, called the presentation a “great analysis.”

“It reconfirmed the city service is the best way to go,” Arnosky said.

The city council voted unanimously to approve a purchase order for $1,179,100 to Grande Truck Service C/O Standard Equipment Company of Chicago for the purchase of four residential garbage trucks based on the Texas Buy Board Purchasing Cooperative agreement.

Source: Midland Daily News, August 28, 2016