After several months of tweaking the proposal, the fate of Queen Creek's trash pickup contract could be decided Wednesday night.
If the contract with Right Away Disposal passes, it would be the first time Queen Creek would have townwide service instead of requiring residents to either haul their own trash or individually contract with waste companies.
The original proposal would charge residents $15.41 a month for once-a-week trash and recycling pickup, once-a-month scheduled bulk pickup and other services like electronics recycling.
A few options have been added in response to community questions, including a plan that would allow residents who only live in their homes for part of the year to stop service for several months at a time.
Another new option would let large livestock owners and residents on property bigger than two acres opt out of the garbage service. Large lot and horse owners raised concerns at a Nov. 18 council meeting that the 95-gallon containers called for in the proposal don't do enough to fulfill their weekly garbage needs.
Any resident who opts out of the weekly trash pickup would still be charged $6.65 per month for recycling services. They would also receive the other services, like tire and Christmas tree recycling, but not bulk waste pickup, said Shane Dille, deputy town manager.
The town would have to pay $906,660 in startup costs for the program. That includes $719,550 for garbage and recycling cans, $26,743 in operations and maintenance and $160,367 for implementation, which Dille said would include items like software to track customer calls for service and an education campaign on the new service.
Some council members and residents question whether it's smart to spend that much money in the current economy, although Dille pointed to a town analysis that shows it's a smart financial proposition.
The startup money would come from an interfund loan. The town would take cash from an approximately $40 million investment fund, which is earning about 2 percent interest in the current market. Queen Creek would pay itself back at a 4 percent interest rate, Dille said.
The program is designed to be self-supporting, Dille said.
"It won't be a drag to the general fund. In fact, every year it would bring money back to the town by bringing back that interest payment," he said.
Still, some residents questioned the program Tuesday.
Bob Cason, a Queen Creek resident who runs his own manure disposal business, said it sounds like officials took care of large lot owners' needs with additions to the proposal.
However, he was concerned Queen Creek hadn't sent out information on the proposed changes before the meeting. He said he originally heard about the proposal through a mailing in his water bill. He only heard about recent changes because of a call from a Tribune reporter, he said.
"What they have in terms of solutions to the problems we talked about last time, it sounds like they might have solutions," Cason said. "But how are people supposed to have their voice heard if they're kept in the dark?"
Town spokeswoman Marnie Schubert said no information had been added to the town's Web site on the large lot modifications because the council had yet to discuss them. She also confirmed no information about long-term vacation stops had been added to the site.