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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Hauler Displacement and Competition

State law requires a city to evaluate any proposed organized collection method in terms of "minimizing displacement of collectors."

We are part of a large and diverse metropolitan area where most cities have open hauling. The status quo is a system where, at least in theory, haulers need to continually prove themselves to their customers in order to win their continuing business. Any given hauler could lose all their business in Maplewood due to consumer choice; and a hauler that does not successfully compete for a portion of Maplewood's business has many other opportunities in other cities nearby. Haulers and trash industry representatives who have testified to the city council at meetings so far have emphasized the importance they place on competition, and their eagerness to continue to engage in it.

Thus, I conclude that one way to "minimize displacement of collectors" is to preserve and enhance the role of competition in any organized collection scheme. An organized collection plan should include a robust competitive bidding process, with contracts having limited terms (perhaps three years, to pick a number for example) and a process that opens the bidding to all qualified parties when those contracts expire. This will give current and future haulers a continuing opportunity to win business in the City of Maplewood.

As haulers today compete for each household, in the future we should facilitate their competing for entire neighborhoods at once.

As it happens, it has also been found that bidding-type organized collection schemes, as opposed to negotiated contracts, result in lower prices. For example, a 1993 report from the Minnnesota Attorney General's Office found that "communities [with organized collection] that continued relationships with local haulers were paying between 17.6 and 48.5 percent more than communities that had competitively selected haulers.” So the competitive bidding approach also serves my top goal, which is to save residents money on trash hauling immediately and into the future.


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