County-wide millage to fund single-stream recycling a bad idea

The recent debate over the possible millage increase to cover single-stream recycling in Marquette County spurred us to look back at an editorial we did on Dec. 23, 2017, regarding the way the city of Marquette handled a new waste agreement. We are including that missive exactly as it appeared on this page.

In our original editorial we called out the city of Marquette for its handling of the new waste agreement. The city did not use the lowest bidder. If they used Eagle Waste & Recycling the cost to Marquette County taxpayers would be about $185,000 a year less than what we are paying now. It is obvious why that was a bad decision.

We also said in that editorial that we believed all municipalities would go to single-stream recycling in the future. That is exactly what is happening with the current proposal, but the problem with the new proposal is that Marquette taxpayers would be asked to pay even more for a service that would have been included with the original proposal from Eagle Recycling.

Eagle Recycling would also have accepted glass as part of their bid. We have also heard recently that if they want to include glass recycling in the future it would probably be at a higher cost than the proposal for Eagle Recycling, which included glass in their original bid.

In our 2017 editorial, we expressed concern about increased cost in the Waste Management contract through surcharges and other costs added to the original seven-year agreement. A review of recent bills for the city of Marquette show the cost for garbage pickup has already increased. Apparently the seven-year fixed price has already changed.

The final paragraph in the 2017 editorial also stated that we would be keeping an eye on future cost increases and amendments to the original contract, and that is exactly what we are doing in this editorial. Our headline on the original editorial read “Marquette botched handling of new waste agreement.” Now, 16 months later, it seems that our concerns were justified.

Another important concern about the original waste agreement was the fact that only one commissioner — Peter Frazier — took the time to meet with Eagle Recycling to try and fully understand the proposal they were making. The city manager and all commissioners but Frazier refused to meet with Eagle Recycling to better understand their proposal. City taxpayers should be angry over the way the city handled this issue in the past. Taxpayers should also demand that the current commissioners do a better job in reviewing future contracts so they don’t end up paying a much higher price for an inferior product.

There may be a reason for Marquette County, excluding the city of Marquette, to look at what would be necessary to improve their recycling program, because outside of the agreement between the city of Marquette and Waste Management the remainder of the county has to have a system that would work going forward to single-steam recycling and also come up with a plan to include glass.

There should not be a county-wide millage increase that includes residents of the city of Marquette because Marquette residents are already paying a much higher price than they should be because the city manager and commissioners back in 2017 did not do their homework.