Pawtucket’s entry into trash collection consortium likely lessens East Providence’s cost

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EAST PROVIDENCE — The cost of ridding the city of its rubbish likely just got a little less expensive for East Providence as neighboring Pawtucket completed its privatization plans and will join a local consortium formed to reduce expenses related to garbage collection.

The Pawtucket Times reported last week that city had signed a five-year contract with EnviroSafe/MTG Disposal LLC, of Seekonk, to handle its sanitation and recycling programs. East Providence extended its contract with the same company late last year. Part of the pact locally included a stipulation where if Pawtucket joined a regional cooperative, including East Providence and Central Falls, each would receive reduced rates.

“When Pawtucket, East Providence and Central Falls jointly bid for this service, one of the RFP (request for proposal) responses was the regional collection of trash and recycling,” East Providence City Manager Peter Graczykowski told The Post.

“We extended the deal with EnviroSafe/MTG pursuant to that bid individually as of Nov. 1, 2012, saving from previous costs,” Mr. Graczykowski continued. “Now that Pawtucket signed on, the deal will become regional, increasing savings for East Providence and outsourcing collection for Pawtucket. The new recycling method and schedule will come to East Providence this summer.”

The “new” recycling method is changing the collection schedule from weekly to bi-weekly. Rubbish collection will remain on a weekly basis.

According to The Times article, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien signed the contract with EnviroSafe/MTG to privatize the city-run trash and recycling services on Feb. 15 of this year. The city would pay the contractor $2,132,000 in year one, $2,174,640 million in year two, $2,218,133 in year three, $2,262,496 in year four and $2,307,746 in year five.

Under the terms of its current contract extension with EnviroSafe/MTG, East Providence similarly pays on average slightly over $2 million per year throughout the five-year agreement, which is actually a savings of just over $1 million from its previous agreement.

“Governor (Lincoln) Chafee’s Shared Municipal Services Task Force has made significant progress on numerous initiatives since its creation in June of 2012. On Feb. 15, the City of Pawtucket signed the contract with EnviroSafe/MTG Disposal, a milestone in the regional bidding initiative between Central Falls, East Providence and Pawtucket,” Mr. Graczykowski explained.

Key to the involvement of Pawtucket in the consortium is the additional savings for the city. Under the revised pact, East Providence’s burden would be lessened even more, the savings accruing to just over $1.6 million during the contract’s five-year period, most of which comes with the change to the collection of recyclables.

As it does in East Providence, EnviroSafe/MTG’s agreement with Pawtucket calls for the contractor to manually collect refuse at least once a week. When the Pawtucket agreement takes effect, EnviroSafe/MTG will collect recyclables every other week, which will also eventually be the case in East Providence as well.

EnviroSafe/MTG will provide each customer with new recycling totes at each location, an automated service done with the use of trucks fitted with a lifting mechanism. The new recycling totes will be significantly larger than the “blue” and “green” containers currently used by East Providence customers, which allows for the change from a weekly to bi-weekly collection schedule.

“As part of the same bid, East Providence continued the outsourced sanitation services with EnviroSafe/MTG at the savings of over $325,000 per year compared to the previous contract with the vendor,” Mr. Graczykowski said. “The shared sanitation services, which include the weekly manual trash pickup and biweekly automated recycling pickup are expected to start in summer of 2013.”

The last hurdle Pawtucket needed to clear before joining the cooperative was what to do with its Department of Public Works employees assigned to trash collection detail.

According to The Times report, Mayor Grebien has pledged that there will be no layoffs of DPW workers under the privatization. Further, the Mayor’s office said EnviroSafe/MTG has also offered job opportunities to those workers displaced.

The Times report stated Local 1012, the union representing the Pawtucket sanitation employees, was still exploring possible legal action to block EnviroSafe/MTG from taking over collection services. In contrast, East Providence has outsourced its collections for several years.

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