Chelsea keeps Republic Services, price increases

Published 8:35 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – The city of Chelsea is keeping Republic Services garbage pickup services after accepting a bid during a council meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

The acceptance of the bid will come with a sharp price increase for Chelsea residents, who can expect to see the same services but with a quarterly price increase of $70.35. The rate will go from $36.75 quarterly to $107.10.

A majority of the Chelsea City Council approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to accept a bid for residential garbage collection and curbside recycling services during a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 1. Councilmembers Scott Weygand and Cody Sumners voted against the resolution.

“We all knew that there would be a significant increase in contract costs regarding pickup services based on recent bids,” Sumners said. “We had two options to consider, one without recycling and a higher bid that included recycling.”

The city of Chelsea received bids from Arrow Disposal Services, GFL Environmental, Republic Services and Waste Management. Arrow Disposal Services was the lowest responsive bidder; however, the business withdrew its bid leaving Chelsea to select Republic Services.

Arrow’s bid before removing was $84.75 with no recycling. Beyond that, GFL had a bid of $103.65 with no recycling, while Waste Management, who now services unincorporated areas of Shelby County, bid $83.25 with no recycling or bulk trash and $130.50 with bulk but still no recycling.

“I don’t like the cost is going up any more than anybody else,” Councilmember Casey Morris said. “Our services are going to be maintaining the same across the board. The way I look at it, I’ll still be getting three pickups every two weeks as opposed to just two—Not the best thing but definitely not the worst.”

Sumners voted against the resolution and voiced his disagreement for the continued inclusion of recycling services which increases the price from $91.35 to $107.10 a quarter.

“While the cost of removing trash from our city is going to rise exponentially—either with or without recycling included—I feel that, in today’s economy, every cent that we can save our citizens is important,” he said. “Given what we know as a council about the truth about recycling, I feel that including recycling and passing the larger cost onto our citizens is nothing more than an attempt to virtue signal off the backs of the citizens of Chelsea and the finance of their families.”

Councilmember Chris Grace voted in favor of the resolution and disagreed with the sentiments expressed by Sumners.

“I think this is the best solution and I would encourage our citizens to take advantage of it or not,” he said.

Councilmember Casey Morris shared that there was no “a la carte” option. The council could either vote on recycling’s inclusion or removal.

Mayor Tony Picklesimer spoke during the meeting on recycling’s inclusion.

“The real question that was presented to our council was, ‘Is it worth $6 a month for recycling,” he said. “I had a dad tell me a week ago, ‘Look I got a couple grandkids, I want to do everything I can to preserve the world that they’re going to grow up in.’ If $6 a month gets a little bit of that then so be it.

“That’s just one daddy and there’s 16,000 residents of Chelsea and I know there are going to be a large portion of people that are unhappy with us for signing up for them to pay $16 more a quarter to add recycling. That’s not important to them, I understand that, but that’s one of the decisions you asked us to make.”

The current contract with Republic Services ends on Aug. 30 and the new rates will go into effect Sept. 1.