OXFORD -- The Oxford City Council will continue its discussion later this month about the privatization of its sanitation department that began last year.
Last March, Oxford Mayor Jerry Roseberry proposed that the city look into privatizing its garbage and recyclables pickup services to possibly save up to $175,000 per year, not including vehicle costs.
"This action is a continuation of the city's effort to provide full value for the citizens' tax dollars," Roseberry said Thursday.
Last year, he reported that the city was netting about $20,000 for its services -- the city collected about $139,000 for garbage collection and paid $16,500 for landfill costs and nearly $103,000 in payroll and benefits for two employees who have since retired. City employees are continuing to collect materials.
"Auditors tell us every year that we're spending a lot of money every year (on sanitation services) that we're not recovering," Roseberry said Wednesday, adding that small cities like Social Circle and Walnut Grove use privatized services for sanitation.
Roseberry said Thursday that the city's auditors have reported that over the last six years the city has received an average of $141,252 in sanitation revenue, and expenses for that department have averaged $276,304 annually, and the average annual loss from operating the sanitation department five days a week has been $135,052 per year.
Roseberry said the city is using temporary employees to replace the retired employees, and the driver will retire this year.
"So, the city needs to make a decision," he said.
Last year, Roseberry estimated that a private contractor would cost about $83,500 to net the city about $55,000 if they kept services at the same price; service details also would not be expected to change. Added to the reduction of landfill costs and other costs, the net change in cash flow could be nearly $175,000.
"The city will continue to pick up yard waste and provide chipper service two days a week even if the garbage and recyclables are contracted out," Roseberry said.
The city received six bids from its Request for Proposals last year, but the council never finalized any plans to follow through with the changeover. Roseberry said Wednesday that the council at that time had decided to delay any plans, and he has been compiling some more information to help make a decision.
The council plans to revisit the topic at a work session at 6 p.m. April 16 at Oxford City Hall, where citizens are invited to learn more about it.