Though the decision to lock Barlow Township residents into an exclusive contract with a single trash provider was a contentious one, many residents seem satisfied with the new set up now that it is under way.
It has been nearly two months since the township's exclusive contract with Rumpke went into effect, forcing residents to either opt into Rumpke's service or forgo trash service entirely.
"I chose to go with them," said Vincent resident Bob Wilkinson, 60.
Wilkinson previously had Waste Management as a trash provider and has not noticed any change in service. The service is also slightly better price wise, saving about $5 per quarter, he added.
The promise of lower prices was the driving force behind the argument in favor of a single provider in Barlow Township.
Conversely, many area residents argued that the decision stripped them of their freedom of choice and would be detrimental to small, independent trash haulers.
Exclusive trash contracts
- City of Marietta - A renewed five-year contract with Rumpke goes into effect July 1.
- Barlow Township - A three year contract with Rumpke went into effect April 1.
- Waterford Township - Began a three-year contract with Big O Refuse on Jan. 1, 2012.
- Watertown Township - Began a three year contract with Kimble just over a year ago.
- Fearing Township - Though no decision has been made, the township is considering bidding out its trash service.
Source: Times research
The debate for and against a contract lasted nearly half a year in Barlow Township and often hit a fever pitch at the monthly township trustee meetings.
"A lot of folks still aren't happy they lost their choice. Does the price outweigh the choice? I don't know," said trustee John Hannan.
Hannan was the only one of Barlow's three trustees to cast an opposing vote when the contract with Rumpke was approved in February.
Rumpke still has some definite kinks to work out in the area, he added.
"I see more trucks that we saw before. There were three trucks on our road the first day and that's not what the promise was. They've got to get the bugs worked out," said Hannan.
In addition, the recycling dumpster which can be used by all township residents and is stationed at the township building is filling up faster than the trash provider can empty it, he said.
Sara Cullin, a spokesperson for Rumpke, said that it is great that people are taking advantage of the recycling program.
"We can look as possibly needing a larger or additional container at that site or changing the collection frequency," said Cullin.
The transition to serving 798 residential customers and 46 commercial ones has been a smooth one, she added.
"We've gotten a lot of compliments from residents," she said.
One of those happy customers is Joan Anderson, 71, of Fleming. She and her family own Anderson Oil and are pleased with the commercial rate and service.
"It's cheaper than what it was before and it's all that counts," said Anderson, who added that the dumpster they were given holds a good deal of waste.
Those who opted to not use Rumpke service must have another way of disposing of their trash.
Fleming resident Maxine Bohl does so by recycling. Though not a Rumpke customer, Bohl has no problems with the change.
"For us it was easy to opt out. My husband just told them we didn't have trash before and we didn't need it now," said Bohl, 71.
Now that Barlow is well into its three-year contract, Fearing Township might be the next to take a look as a single trash provider, said Fearing Township Trustee Rick Groves.
"The main idea was to try to save some of the residents money and save some wear and tear on the roads," he said.
The trustees have voiced the idea at their most recent public meeting, but it was not well attended, said Groves. The trustees plan on getting more feedback before moving ahead with the plan.
"We'll probably have another one or two meetings to see if people are really interested and if they're not interested we'll probably drop it," he said of the idea.