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Farmington residents will save on recycling

Talk about a win-win situation.

On Monday, the Farmington City Council approved a new six-year contract with the city's recycling provider, Dick's Sanitation. The deal will mean quite a few benefits to the city and residents -- not to mention, the environment.

Farmington municipal services director Todd Reiten called the agreement reached with Dick's "a very acceptable contract" for several reasons. It reduces the rate the city is paying from $3.93 per home, per month to $2.65 per home, per month, with a 4 percent annual increase factored in.

At the same time, the new contract eliminates fuel subcharges assessed against the city by Dick's Sanitation. Instead, Reiten said, Dick's is designating a new vehicle that uses compressed natural gas on Farmington's route.

All revenue generated through recycling will go to Dick's Sanitation, Reiten said, which means the rate charged to the city will remain consistent. In the past, the city has received part of the recycling revenue, but it has also had to pay in, depending on the annual market costs associated with recycling. The most the city ever received was $2,200, Reiten said, but one year the city had to pay in $3,400.

"It's just such a wide market, you don't know where it's at, but by averaging it out over five years, ($2,000) is what it came out to be," Reiten said of revenues received through recycling. "We're saving so much more with this new rate, it doesn't even compare."

The new rates will also give council members the ability to hold recycling charge increases at bay for a few years. The city council will look at the contract's impact on the budget in future workshops, mayor Todd Larson said.

In addition, the new contract will allow Reiten to set some funding aside to help pay for replacement vehicles.

Council member Christy Jo Fogarty likes the new contract because she's had some concerns with the rising costs of recycling in recent years.

"My concern was that at some point, it would be less expensive to put it back into the landfill than it was to recycle it, so I'm glad you've come up with a solid plan and worked with our vendor to make sure that doesn't happen," Fogarty said. "I certainly don't want to see recycling change in our city because I recycle more than I have garbage going out. At the same time, the cost continued to escalate so I'm glad we've come to a common ground where that's not going to happen."

Yard waste

The new contract will also offer a new opportunity for residents who want to get rid of some of their yard waste. Currently, the city offers a seasonal yard waste collection program, but residents cannot get rid of just a couple of bags of lawn clippings or leaves on a one-time basis.

That is about to change.

Possibly as soon as next month, Farmington residents will be able to contact Dick's Sanitation and purchase stickers to place on bags of yard waste. The stickers will cost $3 each. When they purchase the stickers, residents will be asked to schedule a date for the collection. The date will coincide with their normal recycling collection days. The city and Dick's Sanitation are still working out details, but Dick's Sanitation executive account and public relations manager David Domack expects the program to be up and running very soon.

Dick's Sanitation is exploring the possibility of a composting program that would be run with the city of Farmington, Domack added.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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