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Grand Forks recycling contract has option for expansion

A new recycling contract with Waste Management got the blessings of the Grand Forks City Council's Safety/Service Committee on Tuesday night.

The five-year contract would keep service levels the same but gives the city the option of expanding services any time during the contract.

The council had balked at deciding immediately on an expansion, which would result in a bigger fee increase in exchange for larger recycling containers. The option gives the council time to make up its mind.

The contract as it stands now includes a 10-cent increase to the monthly recycling fee paid by single-family homes in the first year and a 3-percent per year fee increase in subsequent years.

If the council approves, the monthly cost to those homes would be $2.52 per month.

Delayed decision

Expanding the program would increase costs further as new bins and collection trucks would be required. Public Works Department officials say larger bins would encourage more recycling.

LeahRae Amundson, the department's interim operations director, said the program can be expanded in the last four years of the contract if the city and Waste Management agree on a plan.

At the earliest, staff from both groups could create and present a plan in 2014 and have the expansion roll out in 2015.

The delay would give the new public works director the city expects to hire next year a chance to become familiar with the program before changes go into effect, council member Terry Bjerke said.

Should the expansion become effective in the second year of the contract, the monthly price would increase to $3.02 and still rise by 3 percent each year until the contract ends.

Garbage plan

An expanded recycling program could be implemented alongside a major change to the city's garbage collection service.

Council members have expressed interest in implementing a "pay-as-you-throw" garbage program that would save households money the less garbage they throw out.

For residents, that means various sizes of garbage cans being offered. The monthly rate would increase with the size of the container.

In theory, both programs would encourage residents to throw away less, which would divert trash away from the city's landfill.

Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1108 or send email to