Three years after Toledo got out of the trash-collection business and went through Lucas County to hire a private firm for garbage pick-up citywide, Mayor D. Michael Collins is mulling over a way to get back into that business.
Mayor Collins as a district councilman opposed privatization pushed through by former Mayor Mike Bell in 2011. Like other things he opposed as a councilman, Mayor Collins is now scrutinizing the arrangement. A sticking point for him is the roughly $670,000 extra the city will have to pay Republic Services of Erie, Mich. The monthly trash fee residents pay will generate $8.8 million this year, but the company’s bill will total about $9.4 million.
Supporters of privatization in 2011 said that $670,000 deficit is a pittance compared with the millions taxpayers saved by switching to a private firm rather than using city employees and city-owned trucks. City records show the Toledo-run trash collection department in 2011 cost taxpayers about $16.5 million, but the trash fee that year generated only about $9 million. In today’s dollars, adjusting for inflation, that would be about $17.1 million, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.