Ottumwa City Council approves 10 year contract for Bridge City Sanitation, along with fee hike

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 9:57 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - Last October, the Ottumwa City Council voted to write up a new contract for Bridge City Sanitation to serve as garbage collectors for another 10 year period. It was a 3-2 vote. But as City Administrator Phil Rath explained, Tuesday night’s vote wasn’t to undo October’s actions. “This is not to debate if we’re going to use Bridge City Sanitation or not. This is to approve a contract that will hopefully make things a little easier between the vendor and the city.”

One of the key steps in this new contract: addressing complaints. Bridge City has faced complaints at public forums and in council meetings. The contract will have Bridge City Sanitation and the City meeting more regularly, logging issues and hopefully resolving those issues faster. “When there are issues - and this is one of those services that tends to have issues for a variety of reasons - the first step is really to contact Bridge City Sanitation. And that was one of the things that we had in there, is to have staff available to respond to those requests.”

But that’s not the only change. Prices are going up across the board. Starting on July 1st, solid waste fees will rise $1.50 to $18.70 per month. And that only continues to rise throughout Bridge City Sanitation’s new contract. By 2031, monthly prices will have increased by over $4.

Once the contract ends, the City will have the option to extend it for at least another 5 year period.

The contract was approved Tuesday night, though not with a unanimous vote.

Councilmember Dalbey was one of the councilmembers who voted against approving Bridge City Sanitation back in October. I caught up with him after the meeting to hear why he voted for the other company, Sparta. “I felt like that the one company was far superior with what they offered to the taxpayer than what they’re getting now at this present time.” But he says he hopes for the best with Bridge City Sanitation’s new tenure. Councilmember Stevens, the other dissenting vote last October, wasn’t present at Tuesday’s meeting so was unable to comment.

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