Prairie Village to put waste removal contract out for a bid for first time in 14 years

Honey Creek Disposal out of Lawrence is among the companies likely to vie for Prairie Village's contract. Photo via Honey Creek on Google.
Honey Creek Disposal out of Lawrence is among the companies likely to vie for Prairie Village’s contract. Photo via Honey Creek on Google.

The Prairie Village City Council on Monday directed city staff to develop a request for proposal on its trash and recycling removal services, preparing to test the waters on pricing from trash haulers for the first time since roughly 2002.

The move comes in the wake of service troubles residents have experienced since the city’s longtime hauler Deffenbaugh was sold to Waste Management last year.

Assistant City Administrator Wes Jordan told the council that preliminary discussions indicated that at least four other companies are interested in the city’s trash removal contract: WCA (Town & Country), Republic Services/Allied Waste, Jim’s Disposal Service and Honey Creek Disposal.

Jordan noted that, should a competitor enter a bid that convinced the council to switch providers from Deffenbaugh, there would likely be service issues during the transition phase. Jordan said the city would likely need to hire temporary administrative support to help manage the transition.

“We would be crossing our fingers,” Jordan said of the possibility of a transition to a new carrier. “It will have problems. It just will.”

Some council members had suggested the city was unlikely to get a better deal than its current contract with Deffenbaugh, which provides weekly trash, yard waste and recycling pickup to residents for approximately $14.50 per home per month. What’s more, any new carrier will have to price the cost of their own disposal bins — more than 17,000 — into their bid, giving Deffenbaugh a pricing advantage. But other councilors argued Monday that it had been too long since the city tested the market.

“At some point we need to do [put the contract out to bid]…to make sure what we’re doing for the residents is right,” said Ward 1 Councilor Ashley Weaver. “How long do you let it go on just because you’re worried about a transition?”

Jordan put together the following overview sheet with information provided by three of the potential competitors on what services they could provide: