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Flint outsourcing trash collection

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A private company will start picking up Flint’s residential trash next month.

Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz says Republic Services can handle Flint’s waste collection for a million dollars a year less than the city can itself.    The two sides signed a contract this week. 

As part of the three-year contract, Republic will offer curbside recycling and will also consider hiring some city sanitation workers.   The city currently employs 24 people in its trash collection department.  Republic plans to hire 20 people.  A company official says they will give the city employees who are losing their jobs priority in their hiring process. 

Ed Kurtz says Flint’s cash-strapped city government may have to look at outsourcing even more work.

“We are so short staffed that we almost have to look at, if nothing more, at least emergency outsourcing when our folks can’t keep up with the workload,” says Kurtz.

Flint could see some cash from the sale of part of its fleet of garbage trucks to Republic.  Kurtz says he hasn't decided whether to use that money to pay down the city’s deficit or help fund day to day operations.    The city ended its last fiscal year with a deficit of $19.2 million.   

The city may be saving money by outsourcing trash collection, but Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz says that doesn’t mean city residents will pay any less to have their trash picked up.

“This does not mean that there will be a reduction in the fee that we’re charging to the customers…because out general fund has been subsidizing trash pickup for years,” says Kurtz.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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