Garbage trucks from five residential waste haulers rumble through the city of Fridley each week.
Add in the recycling hauler and summertime yard waste pickups, and some neighborhoods have nearly a dozen trucks pass down their street each week. Pickup times may start at 6:30 a.m., according to city statute.
It’s hard on the roads and some residents’ peace of mind.
Now Fridley will negotiate with haulers to see if there’s a better way to handle garbage pickup.
The City Council greenlighted the negotiations at its Dec. 2 meeting in a nearly full chamber.
“It’s a very contentious issue in the community,” said Fridley Planning Manager Julie Jones. “This isn’t the first time it’s come up.
“Every time it does come up, it draws a crowd.”
The passion surrounding possibly consolidating trash hauling services has puzzled city staff, Jones said. She theorizes that some people just bristle at the loss of choice, while others are fearful the city may not negotiate the best deal for residents.
Under state law, the haulers and officials from a city can meet and draw up a proposal to divide the city into zones and award a zone to each hauler. The city can also opt to issue a request for proposals and choose one hauler, or the city can choose to leave the current system in place.
“There are special language and allowances in the state statute that does allow the city and the haulers to negotiate with each other without breaking antitrust laws,” Jones said.
The city will complete additional studies and hold a public meeting seeking comment before any decision is finalized, Jones said.
“There is going to be a lot of study and a lot of opportunity for public input before any decisions are made,” Jones said.
The negotiations follow three years of study and discussion. Fridley first started looking into consolidating hauler services a few years ago after residents being assessed for street repairs began to complain.
“They said, ‘We have multiple garbage trucks coming down this new street, it doesn’t seem right. We are paying for these new streets and we have all this truck traffic,’ ” Jones said.
Other residents have complained about the early morning racket as truck mechanisms grab and empty garbage bins in front of their homes.
“They do start early. They are allowed to start at 6:30 in the morning,” Jones said. “This is a community where we have a lot of people who work the late shift.”