Shakopee, a regionwide poster child in the movement to switch to a single garbage hauler, is thinking seriously of trashing the incumbent.

The City Council last week told its staff to try to work out a five-year deal with a competitor, Allied Waste Services, for residential garbage, recycling and yard waste, starting next year.

Cities are increasingly considering the idea as a way of sparing their aging streets, which get pounded by trucks when lots of haulers work their turf.

Six firms, including incumbent Dick's Sanitation, sought the work. Dick's ended up the third best option. Some City Council members had complained that the city wasn't doing enough to bring market forces to bear on cost and service. Dick's has been sole provider since 2001.

A review committee looked at price, experience and other issues; Allied had the lowest cost.

To add flexibility in the future, the city has bought 22,000 carts.

David Peterson