The City of Battle Creek is beginning the job of preparing city residents for the upcoming change in waste hauling for the city. It’s been a challenging year for residents who must use the city designated single course provider. That is handled, like in many communities now, with contract-based service for all residential customers within the boundaries of the governmental unit. In turn, most communities are able to negotiate for lower rates than what individual residents would be able to get on their own. That also goes with the presumption that the services provided will be on time and properly handled.

But this last year, in particular, Waste Management has had a long string of issues keeping up with collection schedules in Battle Creek. It’s been bad enough that even Mayor Mark Behnke has felt it necessary to post on his own Facebook page about some of the issues. In many cases, Waste Management has blamed delays and cancellations of pickups on staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

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When the Waste Management contract was nearing its end this year, city staff put the contract out for bid. Waste Management offered to extend the contract. But Republic Services came in at about $6 million less than Waste Managements contract extension offer.

The new contract with Republic Services takes effect on the first of April next year. Republic knows the city well by virtue of already having about 2,400 customers in Battle Creek. And the company is promising it will tackle any equipment or personnel issues immediately without interrupting services.

City staff plans to update residents on a regular basis leading up to the changeover. One of the biggest items is with the recycling program. Residents will need to notify the Republic they want a new recycling bin.

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