Shannon Taylor, Associate Editor
Citizens from Palmersville reached out with concerns about their new rural trash pickup with Raekar stating that the invoices received were substantially higher than with Republic and coming with an increase in service expenses every year.
In April of this year the Public Works Committee voted to switch the rural trash service provider from Republic Services to Raekar. County Mayor Jake Bynum stated at that meeting that Raekar was the cheapest of the two with their regular rate and with a smaller percentage increase yearly, however, residents received invoices stating that their bill would go up $5.00 extra with Raekar in comparison with Republic Services.
Citizens also received a letter from Raekar stating, “Per Raekar’s franchise agreement, rates will increase 3% at the beginning of each contracted year.”
Bynum stated that his office has received numerous phone calls regarding this and that when the bids were taken out that “looking at the current price compared to Raekar prices were going up regardless.” Bynum said that Raekar’s bid was for $17.95 a month with a 3% increase every year and that Republic Services bid was for $20.95 a month with a 4% yearly increase. “Republic was going to be higher and that’s the information citizens didn’t have.” Right now Republic’s services may be cheaper but going forward, Raekar was the cheapest of the two and that’s why Bynum said the Public Works Committee voted to go with them.
Commissioner Dennis Doster had drawbacks because “we would be the first,” he said. Doster said they were unexperienced in the rural part of it and the service we have now had some problems during COVID, but that had gotten straightened out. Bynum agreed that the number of complaints had reduced and that there was a potential that was because they knew that the County was going out for bids and customer service oftentimes increases due to that fact. “We have had a better relationship with Republic in the last six months than we had previously.” Bynum said it’s now more of an economic question. Doster voted against going with RaeKar.
RaeKar is based primarily out of Waynesboro and their landfill is located in Troy and they have a station in Martin. This will be one of RaeKar’s first rural trash pickup customers, according to Bynum. The approval did not have to go before the full County Commission, but Bynum said they took the County’s recommendation on this. There is also no cost to the county for this.
Bynum said, “All we do is offer a franchise to come into the county. We don’t require mandatory rural trash pickup and I think that’s a really good policy on our part. If you look to our neighbors in Carroll County, they do require mandatory rural trash pickup, so the county facilitates some of that and they make a little revenue off of that. The reason we offer the franchise is that you all know in nearly every discussion we have about rural issues is that there are parts of the county that are far more challenging to provide service so very un-densely populated areas don’t make a lot of costs, or profits for these companies so the franchise says that you have to cover everybody and you have to pick up everybody that signs up for your service. If we opened it up for everybody, you would start to see these companies pick off the profit centers.”
Republic Services responded for comment and stated, “Republic Services is thankful to have been awarded the opportunity to serve customers throughout Weakley County for over 22 years.”
Raekar has not responded for comment.
Trash pick-up for rural customers will start Dec. 1 and Raekar has a website for pricing and signup at www.raekar.com or by calling 931-722-6186.