Mineral Wells Area News

Town hall meetings scheduled about changes with the city’s new trash removal contract

Town hall meetings scheduled about changes with the city’s new trash removal contract
January 25
16:45 2022

By Ann Powers

The Mineral Wells City Council has scheduled several “Town Hall” meetings to provide information and answer questions for residential and commercial customers regarding the city’s new $23 million contract with Frontier Waste Solutions starting March 1.

According to City Finance Director Jason Breisch, the meetings are set for:

February 3, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. at the Mineral Wells High School Cafeteria, 3801 Ram Blvd. This meeting will address residential customers in the northern portion of the city.

February 10, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. at Lamar Elementary School, 2102 SE 12th St. This meeting will focus on residential customers in the southern part of Mineral Wells.

February 17, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Mineral Wells Chamber of Commerce Community Room, 511 East Hubbard St. This meeting is aimed at commercial customers throughout the city.

Breisch said the residential meetings are scheduled to last about one hour. The commercial meetings are set up as a come-and-go format for approximately 45 minutes.

Information and instructions about the transition from the city’s current trash removal provider, Waste Connections, to Frontier will also be included in the February utility bills in both English and Spanish. Frontier representatives are meeting with businesses in person to discuss the upcoming changes. The company is also updating their app to accommodate Mineral Wells customers.

Residents will see a 45% boost on their bill, from $13.80 to $20, for twice-weekly trash pickup when Frontier takes over. Commercial price hikes vary depending on front load size, service frequency and extra lifts.

Officials said the increase is contributed to inflation rates, since fees have not been updated in five years and other bidders would have comparable rates. New equipment, switching from bags to carts and impeccable service are also factored into the price bump.

Frontier will start delivering residential carts and business dumpsters the week of Feb.14, according to Frontier’s Korey Medart. Commercial roll-offs (the large containers often used at construction sites) will be swapped out on an as-needed basis to avoid overcharges. It will be mandatory for both residential and commercial customers to use Frontier’s equipment when the exclusive contract goes into effect.

Officials said the switch to using residential carts, instead of leaving trash bags on curbs, will make for a cleaner community. Commercial clients will be getting new dumpsters and roll-offs.

“There will be nice, new green dumpsters out there instead of a beat-up one,” said Frontier’s Korey Medart. “With residents moving to carts, you won’t be driving through and seeing a growing city with trash plopped out on the side of the road. And, the city will stay cleaner because animals won’t be able to get into the trash.”

Some customers are taking issue with the changes. On the Mineral Wells Area News Facebook page, Cindy Beauchamp Randolph wrote:

“This is a terrible decision made by the people voted in. My company has a 4 yd dumpster. The cost is going up from $137 to $362. That’s $2,700 that could and SHOULD go toward business upgrades, employee raises and back into the local economy! And let’s not forget the 12% kickback the city contracted to get paid back from frontier (sic).”

That “12% kickback” is actually a common franchise fee, Breisch stated in an email sent to the Mineral Wells Area news. Referencing Randolph’s comment, he wrote:

“This political conjecture is actually referencing the 12% franchise fee that our provider of solid waste collection service is contractually required to remit to the City. This is typical in municipalities across the State of Texas. Historically, a franchise fee is used to cover costs associated with the franchised service, such as administrative costs to the City and repair of the wear and tear on municipal streets.”

Others wondered about a nearly $40,000 payment to an Austin-based consultant, Solid Waste Specialists (SWS), instead of having the City Manager do the work of matching the city with a trash-removal service.

“Due to the fact that the City had not solicited solid waste collection services in approximately 20 years, City Staff and Council thought it best to contract with a subject matter expert to guide us through the process,” Breisch stated in an email. “The City paid SWS a total of $39,740 for its services, which Frontier reimbursed the City in January 2022. This fee is not part of, nor associated in any way with, the franchise fee, and was an agreed to reimbursement as part of the request for proposal process.”

In addition to attending the town hall meetings, customers with questions or comments can call Briesch at (940) 328-7707, or email him at jbreisch@mineralwellstx.gov. Informational flyers will also be available throughout the city soon, Briesch added.

People can also contact city hall at (940) 328-7700, call Public Works Director Scott McKennon at (940) 328-7777, or visit the city’s website.

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