The city of Arvada met with Crush, along with eight other haulers, when it started exploring the single hauler idea, city manager Mark Deven said.
“They provided us with some input and we encouraged them to be involved in the process and submit a proposal,” Deven said.
Ultimately, Crush did not submit a proposal, with four of the nine haulers submitting before Republic was chosen as the best option for the city, Deven said.
One of the reasons Crush chose not to submit was because the small business did not feel it could feasibly take on tens of thousands of new customers, Mazotti said. Further, because of the details of how Crush operates — for instance, the company does not provide trash cans to customers and brings cans back up to customers’ doors after emptying them — the company’s model did not fit the model the city outlined in its request for proposals.
Deven said the city is in the process of finalizing the contract with Republic now, with plans to officially start running the program in July 2021.
A council decision that has left a business owner uncertain about the future of his local trash hauling company has sparked an outpouring of customer support for the business.
Crush Disposal has just over 3,000 customers, with most of them in Arvada. The employees of Crush, which also serves customers in Westminster and Wheat Ridge, knew it had a lot to lose when it came to the single hauler decision the city has explored over the last 18 months.
Through 2019 and into 2020, Arvada contemplated whether to enter into a contract with just one waste hauling company.
Under the contract, non-HOA residents would automatically be billed for trash and recycling services through the city’s hauler. Republic Services, which was among three other haulers that applied for the contract, was selected as the potential hauler mid-2019.
The contract drafted allows residents to choose another hauler and pay a monthly $5.13 fee to the city and Republic.
Hundreds of individuals spoke to the city council leading up to the June 15 meeting regarding the contract, with Crush’s owner, Matt Mazotti, urging the council to consider the “small pieces” in addition to broad benefits that proponents of the contract have cited.
“I’m nervous and I do care and all I’m saying is, you guys have got to look at the big picture here,” he said. “Let the people who know trash take care of trash.”
After hearing from numerous residents on either side of the issue at that June 15 meeting, the council cast a 4-3 vote to approve the contract.
But despite the potential drawbacks this could have for the local hauler, “we’ve gotten a lot of calls and emails from our current customers saying they don’t care what the opt-out fee is — they’re staying with us,” Mazotti told Colorado Community Media.
He estimated that about 10% of his customers called to say they’d stay with the company within the first 24 hours of the ordinance passing.
“Our customers want to stand behind us, so we want to stand behind them,” he said.
The city has estimated that between one and 3% of about 32,000 non-HOA households will choose to pay the minimum monthly fee and find services through a trash company that is not Republic. It has also predicted that multiple HOAs will opt into the program in the coming years.
“The switch to a single hauler will probably disadvantage some of the other community haulers in Arvada. There’s always advantages and disadvantages to every decision we make,” said City Manager Mark Deven. “People were concerned about noise and air pollution, they were concerned about truck traffic, they were concerned about our recycling rate. Those were the things we had to value against the potential impacts to businesses and customer choice.”
Though the program with Republic won’t officially begin until July 2021, residents are already making decisions about whether they will participate.
Some, including residents Nancy Eddins, Cambri Hilger and Heather Taormina, say they hope to stay with Crush, both because they like its services and did not like their previous services with large companies, including Republic.
For others who have been skeptical of the switch to a single hauler, pricing has been a major factor.
“I’m on a tight budget and can’t afford anyone else,” said resident Jules Thrower, a current Crush customer. “Crush is amazing and takes all my trash I put out. I have unlimited pickup with them … I will not change to Republic.”
Resident Rick Dalley likewise outlined a plan to stay with Crush, at least in the immediate future.
“I’ve been using them for a while now and pay about $20 per month without set limits. As my dad always said, `if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,’” Dalley said. “That being said, I will keep an open mind. I’m not against moving to Republic Services in the future. I will wait and see how satisfied people are with their service.”
Meanwhile, others, including residents Suzan Livengood, Joyce Richardson and Kathryn Wallace, find themselves excited about saving money through the city contract as well as the program’s benefits that Deven highlighted.
“We currently have Crush and we will likely stay with them until the city officially transitions, as we do feel for their small business loss in this change, but we do feel this change is for the greater good,” said resident Tom Sisnroy. “We love that this will reduce pollution and increase safety by reducing the number of trucks on our roads.”
Resident Iris Horowitz agreed.
“The new organized waste hauling system is fairer in that you would only pay for how much you trash,” she said. “It is not a choice between haulers, but rather a choice between an inefficient and costly system versus an updated system that provides low-cost trash hauling, recycling at no additional cost and tons of community benefits.”
As for Crush, Mazotti said the company is preparing for some customers to leave but is hoping to see no more than a 20% loss in its Arvada customer base. He added that he isn’t sure what the future of Crush looks like five years from now; he hopes that Crush’s efforts to provide services that fit Arvadans’ specific needs will keep customers with Crush, but he acknowledged that within several years, the effects of the contract may leave the company with no choice but to shut down.
Even so, the company aims to stay in Arvada as long as it can.
“Our drivers really do care about the area of Arvada and we’re going to keep doing what we need to do,” he said. “We’re not going anywhere.”
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