When it comes to trash collection, Salem and Beverly are hoping that one company is better than two.
Officials in the two cities announced yesterday that they are accepting proposals that could enable a single company to collect trash and recyclables in both communities.
The unusual move is designed to save money, although Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon acknowledged that nobody is sure yet if that will happen.
“That’s the premise. That’s the hope,” he said. “We don’t know what we’re going to get, but we’re interested in seeing what we’re going to get.”
Trash in Salem is currently collected by Northside Carting of North Andover, while Beverly’s is picked up by JRM Hauling and Recycling of Peabody.
If a single company won the contract to serve both communities, officials said it could possibly cut their overhead and equipment costs, allowing them to charge less for the service and save the cities money.
“We’re definitely excited about partnering with Beverly and hopefully realizing some savings by offering a larger contract for bidders to bid on,” Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said. “It makes it more of a competitive process.”
The two cities are leaving open the possibility that the experiment won’t produce lower prices.
If that’s the case, both have the option of accepting bids from different companies.
Beverly is nearing the end of a five-year contract with JRM Hauling in which the city paid an average of $1.28 million per year for trash and recycling collection. Salem costs are budgeted at $2.74 million this year, but that also includes the cost for disposal as well as collection.
The new contract would include a couple of significant changes regarding recycling in both cities.
Salem would institute mandatory recycling. Driscoll said enforcement is being worked out, but the program would probably include a warning, such as a sticker, before enforcement kicks in.