Oak Creek Town officials in Oak Creek and Hayden are considering buying a shared truck and operating a trash service to avoid expected fee increases for services by the only trash-hauling company in Routt County Waste Management of the Rockies.
The most recent talk about the possibility came at the Hayden Town Board meeting last week, when trustees instructed Town Manager Rob Straebel to study how much it would cost to haul their own trash.
During discussion of the idea, Hayden trustees said the program would work better if south Routt and north Routt could be involved.
Trash hauling in south and west Rout became a topic of discussion in June, after Waste Management bought out its only competitor, High Country Roll Off.
High County underbid Waste Management for the trash hauling contracts in Hayden and Oak Creek two years ago by about two dollars per resident.
But the recent buyout meant the $13 billion international company took over those contracts, including 600 houses in Hayden and 300 in Oak Creek.
Town representatives in both Hayden and Oak Creek believe that means when it's time to renegotiate their contracts, the price will undoubtedly be higher.
"There's just no competition," Straebel said.
Waste Management's local site manager, Mike Stinson, said the final numbers are not worked out, so he doesn't know what the bids are going to be.
"Right now, we're just trying to get a feel for what the towns want," he said.
Hayden's contract is up on Sept. 30 and Oak Creek's ends Oct. 1.
Oak Creek town trustees will discuss their trash hauling future with Waste Management at the town meeting Thursday.
Straebel said recycling options should be pursued as well.
Options for recycling are limited in Hayden, south Routt and north Routt because the number of people who live in those areas doesn't justify the costs of a trash company picking up recyclable materials, Straebel added.
But by combining efforts in collecting recycling, the rural areas would have more bargaining power to negotiate with Waste Management, Straebel said.
However, if Hayden went ahead with buying a trash truck, there would likely be no need to let it sit unused in a garage for most of the week after all the trash in that town is picked up.
"It would probably only take us a day or a day and a half to collect all of the trash," Straebel said.
In the meantime, other people in Routt County could use the truck.
"That certainly would be a possibility," Straebel said.
Oak Creek's mayor, Deb Van Gundy, said local officials already have thought of that possibility.
"We started talking about that a little while back," she said. In fact, town employees have been instructed by the board to find out what the cost of buying a truck and providing the service would be. They also wrote a letter to Hayden officials to ask for some support.
"I think it would save us all some money," Van Gundy said.