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Vader postpones contract with garbage collector while seeking recycling information from LeMay

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The Vader City Council has postponed renewal of their contract with garbage service privider Jeff Cummins as they wait for additional information about recycling options from competitor LeMay.

Though the council was presented with a contract on Jan. 22 that both Cummins and City Attorney Carol Morris had endorsed, they opted to table the issue another three weeks so they could hear what rates LeMay would offer for possible recycling services before committing to Cummins.

"There's a lot of members of our community that want recycling," said Council Member Joe Schey, who put forward the motion to table consideration of the contract.

From time to time, the council has been addressed during public comment regarding the possibility of providing recycling services within the city, and when Cummins' contract was up for renewal at the end of last year, the council asked if recycling could become an option.

At that time, Cummins said he was not in a position to offer such services, as his business was not set up to receive or deliver recyclables. Schey said this prompted him to ask Lewis County Solid Waste how they provide such services, stating he was then put in touch with representatives from LeMay, who operate locally out of Chehalis.

When previous discussions about services from LeMay have come before the council, Mayor Ken Smith has stated it was his understanding recycling would not be offered without garbage collection as well, stating LeMay's garbage rates had been far more expensive than those provided by Cummins.

But a representative from LeMay is expected to present city officials with recycling options during a meeting scheduled for this Wednesday in City Hall, after which time the council is expected to render a decision regarding Cummins' contract during their Feb. 12 meeting.

It was noted by both Cummins and members of the council that Cummins' previous contract has expired, and waiting to hear input from LeMay is asking Cummins to operate without a guarantee his contract will be renewed.

Council Member Kevin Flynn said he feels waiting to approve a contract from a businessperson who has successfully met the deadlines the city has give him is like "hanging a carrot out there and then pulling the carrot away," and said the city needs to be mindful of Cummins' commitments in the past to work with Vader.

"I would like to hear the proposal from LeMay," said Flynn, "but I think we have to be sensitive to the fact that we've got a contractor who's worked with us through all this stuff."

Cummins said he would not object to waiting until the next meeting for consideration of his contract, again noting he is going "out on quite a limb" by operating without a current contract. He added he would also be willing to research what it would take for his company to add recycling services as an option and would prepare a presentation for the council by their next meeting.

"I like the idea. I don't like throwing away stuff that doesn't need to go in the dump," said Cummins, stating, if he was able to incorporate recycling into his business model, it would likely involve an additional charge for those seeking the service.

Cummins gave no indication during the council's meeting that garbage service in Vader was to be interrupted during the coming weeks, but without a contract in place there is no obligation on his part to continue.

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