Recology will soon be replacing Republic as Mercer Island’s garbage removal service. They will be responsible for collecting compost, garbage and recycled material for residents. Madeline Coats/Staff photo

Recology will soon be replacing Republic as Mercer Island’s garbage removal service. They will be responsible for collecting compost, garbage and recycled material for residents. Madeline Coats/Staff photo

Island residents express concern over contract with Recology

City Council approves 10-year partnership with new garbage removal service.

Recology will no longer be requiring a waiver for all private roads, according to new information from the City of Mercer Island on July 12.

The previous liability waiver released in June asked residents on private roads or driveways to release Recology from any future claims for property damage or loss resulting from the weight of their vehicles. The customers needed to warrant that all private roads are capable of withstanding the load of the collection trucks, which could likely surpass 60,000 lbs., according to the waiver.

“Throughout the next four to six weeks, Recology will be working directly with customers to discuss specific roads,” said Public Works director Jason Kintner. Some roads may still require a waiver, he explained.

Recology had already received about 200 waivers from residents, however, they will be returning the signed paperwork within the next few weeks. Recology is scheduled to come back to a city council meeting on Aug. 20 with additional updates, Kintner said.

“They are definitely stepping back and re-evaluating at this point in time,” he said. The waiver itself is still being revised between legal teams.

According to city communications manager Ross Freeman, there will be an open house in the community center in September. Waste containers will also be replaced at about the same time.

“In the meantime, the city will be updating people on the process and trying to reach as many residents as we can with our channels,” Freeman said.

The city council approved the 10-year partnership with Recology after two meetings back in December. Recology was selected by the city through a competitive bid process.

Rates for residents will rise by about 8 percent compared to the previous contract, however, the four other proposals required a higher pay increase. Recology will be responsible for collecting compost, garbage and recycled material for residents in Mercer Island.

Islander residents expressed concern about the city’s contract with Recology, set to begin on Oct. 1, 2019. An anonymous homeowner on a private drive explained feeling left out from the city with regard to the waiver. She said it is not physically possible for a number of their neighbors to bring bins up to the street should they not sign the waiver.

“As a local business and third-generation residents of Mercer Island with 80 years of solid waste experience, we bid on this contract with the understanding that we would have to service private drives without asking residents to sign a waiver,” said Stephan Banchero, president of Cedar Grove, in a statement. Cedar Grove was another bidder for the contract with Mercer Island.

A weekly update from the city of Mercer Island stated that Recology has a phone bank specifically for islander customers (206-381-6980). So far, about 500 residents have used the hotline to discuss possible solutions for site-specific access issues.

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