Republic Services rates to climb as customer service complaints continue

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown City Councilor Jenny Selin said her 4th Ward constituents are tired of paying for inconsistent service from trash and recycling hauler Republic Services — and they’re not alone.
“I’ve had enough,” Selin said during the latest session of council, explaining that she recently met with representatives of the hauler along with, among others, City Manager Paul Brake and fellow council members Rachel Fetty and Barry Wendell.
“This seems to have particularly affected those in the fourth and seventh wards, because we have the unlucky Friday service,” she said. She noted that when Republic falls behind during the week “chaos ensues” for those with Friday pickups.
“So either your trash isn’t picked up or your recycling isn’t picked up, which is always confusing because you would think both would leave on the same day, as is specified in the contract,” she said.
Due to an exclusive agreement, which was just renewed for five years last March, Republic is the only trash and recycling hauler permitted to operate in the city. As the contract was backdated to the fall of 2017, when the previous agreement ended, this is actually year two of the deal.
Throughout its relationship with the city, the service provided by Republic has been a reoccurring problem. In recent years, representatives of the hauler have been invited before council fairly frequently to hear the frustrations routinely fielded by council members and city administration.
In an attempt to lessen the burden on Republic and allow it to focus solely on trash and recycling, the city (MUB) took over billing for the hauler last May, setting up a single-payer system in which the city pays Republic directly and is then reimbursed when MUB collects the bills.
As with the cost of most services, those bills get larger every year, adding to customer frustrations.
According to the contract, come Oct. 1, the start of year three of the current deal, Republic’s monthly rates will jump from $17.64 to $18.17. Rates will climb to $18.72 in year four and $19.28 in year five.
Added to those base rates are a $1 charge for billing through MUB, a charge — currently 80 cents — for electronics pickup available once per month by request, and a fuel surcharge regulated by the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
The charge for electronics pickup is paid by every customer regardless of use and goes up five cents annually.
The contract also includes a schedule of penalties the city can levy against Republic. To this end, the hauler must maintain $5,000 in a joint bank account with the city.
The following penalties are spelled out in the contract:

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