Gulls circle a compactor as it rolls over trash from a Waste Management truck at Janesville’s sanitary landfill in February.

The Village of DeForest has received an email from Waste Management offering the village an opportunity to get out of its current agreement with the waste services firm and the village is now looking for offers for a potential replacement.

On Oct. 30, 2020, DeForest and Windsor’s waste contractor Advanced Disposal was purchased by Houston-based Waste Management and within months complaints began to mount.

In July representatives of Waste Management appeared before the village boards of both DeForest and Windsor to respond to a host of questions and concerns about service in the area including trash strewn across streets during pickup, irregular pickup times, and customer service representatives at times telling callers from DeForest and Windsor that they were not in Waste Management’s service area.

Despite those meetings ending with assurances that issues would be addressed and services would improve as staffing caught up with demand, it appears that the company is ready to pull the plug on the operation, DeForest Director of Public Services Judd Blau told the board at the Sept. 23 meeting.

“They don’t feel as if they can adequately serve our needs through a variety of things, whether it being their equipment and not being able to keep it up, as well as having adequate staff to deliver the services that are needed,” said Blau.

Blau was seeking approval from the board to issue a request for proposals from prospective contractors, similar to their last search. The request would go out as soon as possible, with bids expected in early to mid-October, and choices brought before the board in mid-October.

Waste Management has offered an out for DeForest to pick up another contractor as of the start of 2022, though Blau said that he was uncertain a new company could be selected and in place that early. However, there did appear to be flexibility in the timing of the transition.

Questions and requests from trustees tended to be addressed in the request as drafted, such as cardboard pickup and scheduling for large item pickups. As well, Trustee Rebecca Witherspoon asked if a request for proposal could also include pricing for once-a-week recycling pickup.

“We certainly can, if that’s what the board’s wishes,” said Blau. “I do know that it’s probably an extra hundred or a hundred and fifty thousand dollars increase...it would potentially be a significant increase for taxpayers to add that into the budget.”

When asked if residents would need to get new bins, Blau explained that the village owns them and they can remain in use, and if residents need an additional bin, they can be purchased.

The board approved a request for proposals, but was not interested in exploring the costs of an increase to weekly recycling pickup services.

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