Orion Twp. committee to explore consolidated garbage hauler option

By Jim Newell

Review Editor

The Orion Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Monday to form an ad-hoc committee to explore consolidating the township’s waste collection services.

Currently, each homeowner contracts their own garbage and recycling services.

Board members began the discussion because this is the time of year that waste haulers need to renew their permits to haul in Orion Township, Supervisor Chris Barnett said.

It’s a move that’s bound to create some controversy and dissension in the township.

In 2014, residents were outspoken in their opposition to establishing an ordinance for the township to accept bids for single waste hauler services and the amendment to ordinance 73, Solid Waste Collection Ordinance, failed to get approval at the Jan. 5, 2015 board meeting.

But times have changed and Barnett and other board members have said residents are asking to limit the number of garbage trucks driving through their neighborhoods.

Another concern is the wear-and-tear on roadways from the added heavy-vehicle traffic.

“We have a lot of garbage trucks in our community,” Barnett said, adding that the township has licensed about 126 garbage trucks to provide waste services. “That doesn’t mean that there are that many in your neighborhoods (every week).”

Barnett, trustees Mike Flood and Brian Birney and attorney Dan Kelly are the members of the committee, but board members left open the option to appoint others to the committee in the future.

Clerk Penny Shults recommended possibly putting the issue before voters. “It didn’t go well when we discussed this before. My thought is, put it on the ballot. If people want it, let them decide.”

Flood said it was the responsibility of the board to adopt or amend ordinances and was against abdicating that responsibility.

“It’s the responsibility of the township to enact ordinances and the township would be opening a Pandora’s Box by putting all ordinances up for a vote,” Flood said. “I personally like the single-hauler concept. The fly in the ointment was always how to implement it.”

Ordinance 73 was adopted Jan. 3, 1984 and has been amended six times but never to switch to single-hauler.

The township surveyed residents in 2015 and 2017 and many supported some change to the status quo. “In general, in both years, there was 2-1 support in favor of some sort of consolidation,” Barnett said.

What form any consolidation of services would take is still undecided. All the board members agreed that if consolidating services cost residents more money, they would be against the plan.

“I would be the first to say this is a terrible idea if every resident didn’t save money,” Barnett said, adding that of the 63 communities in Oakland County the majority have some sort of consolidated garbage services.

Residents have complained in the past that if the township mandates a single-hauler format they would lose their freedom of choice and it could harm the business of locally-owned waste companies, board members said.

“A lot of residents wanted to feel like they could get the best deal. How can we be sure that residents will get the best deal?” Trustee Ron Sliwinski said.

Flood said that if the township does go to a single hauler or some form of consolidated service that the plan must address the 25 percent of residents who live in apartments and other non-single-family homes.

“This township has been discriminating against multi-family dwellings and this is a great opportunity to include all residential zoning properties in the discussion,” he said.

The committee will research a potential consolidation of waste hauler services – which could include going to a single garbage hauler who offers the lowest bid for services – or some other option to reduce the number of garbage trucks on township roads.

They will also investigate an opt-out clause, how “snowbirds” could be impacted, multi-year contract options, cost and payment options (special assessment or direct billing from the waste hauler).

Barnett said he has received threats in the past for proposing adopting a single-hauler format – from waste haulers.


5 Responses to "Orion Twp. committee to explore consolidated garbage hauler option"

  1. Celia   March 22, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    I do not believe you should limit it to One company.
    But we could have a handful of options. This way it help having
    options (try to keep everyone happy)

  2. Mary MacMaster   March 23, 2018 at 11:11 am

    I truly hope that our Orion Township Board elected officials will remember the information that was first presented to them by JoAnn VanTassel, and then later shared and written about by me and then published in The Lake Orion Review in January of 2015 that was in regards to Waste Haulers:

    Re: No Authority for Townships To Contract with Single Private Waste Hauler

    Nowhere under the Michigan Compiled Laws is there any language granting the authority for any Charter Township Board to act on its own accord and mandate, setup and contract with a singular private waste hauler to be the only residential hauler township wide. Or, for that matter for even businesses and/or multiple dwelling complexes. Nor, does the MCL’s grant any provisions for a township to act as a penalty/fee collection agency for a private contractor.

    All Charter Townships in Michigan are governed by the Charter Township Act MCL 42.1 – 42.34. Section 42.1 stipulates that Charter Townships are also governed by MCL 41.1 – 41.110c of the General Township Act.

    Section 42.15 does allow the Charter Townships to adopt and enact ordinances on granting and prescribing licenses to Solid Waste Haulers .. such as our township’s current Ordinance 73.

    Under MCL, section 42.31 a Charter Township may set-up its own solid waste disposal system and then maintain, operate it alone with its own township waste hauler disposal service.

    A Charter Township under Section 42.31 could set-up its own Public Waste Disposal Department/s with township owned waste hauling, yard waste and recycling trucks and its own contracted employees. It does not allow a Charter Township to contract with a private operator to do collections for just certain sectors of a township. The township board would then have to set-up a special assessment on property to defray for all the costs that would entail.

    Therefore, any further Orion Township Board discussions or actions on the subject of having a Single Waste Hauler mandate for all the residents of Orion Township would be futile and in vain. Because, there is nothing under the Michigan Compiled Laws that grants any Charter Township that written authority to do so.

    That does not rule out the fact that Homeowners Associations and neighborhoods do have the authority under their own accord and support of their residents to decide whether or not they wish to go with single waste hauler.

    To find the information presented above you can Google search ‘Michigan Legislature.’ Then – click on ‘Basic MCL Search’ and enter the MCL number that you wish to find. You can also find the whole ‘Charter Township Act’ by clicking on ‘Chapter 42.’ There is also the capability to print the information that you have searched and found.

    Sincerely, Mary MacMaster – Orion Twp.,

  3. Jennifer   March 27, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    So a committee of 4 guys decides this? Sounds like a recipe for corruption.

  4. Jon   April 3, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    Yea let’s just throw the “free market” right out of the window. So what is going to be getting kickbacks when a contract is signed? Then you have the audacity to say it’s for the sake of “muh roads”. Pure bull let’s put it to a vote.

  5. Lake Orion Township Resident   April 6, 2018 at 12:22 am

    Thank you Mary MacMaster for this information. I am so glad the township can NOT do whatever they want. Everyone needs to read this!! We don’t need out of state garbage haulers or Township owned or board member affiliation of any kind. Stop the corruption… we need to watch these guys!!!


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