Ameri-Tex Pickup Services will start hauling trash for Elkhart Oct. 1, after securing a five-year contract with the city in August. Ameri-Tex, of Whitehouse, replaces Waste Connections, which served the city for 15 years.
Under the new contract with Ameri-Tex, residents in the city of 1,300 will pay $16 for weekly trash pick-up – the same rate Waste Connections, of The Woodlands, Texas, proposed.
Mayor Jennifer McCoy told the Herald-Press Monday Elkhart awarded Ameri-Tex the contract because of superior customer service.
“Hands down, Ameri-Tex had the best customer service,” City Administrator Judith Cantrell told the Herald-Press. “We are excited to see positive change in our community, which will also aid in the push to clean up Elkhart.”
Up to now, McCoy said, Waste Connections' contract had routinely been renewed by past administrations, without competing proposals. This year, she said, city officials wanted options.
“Our decision wasn't necessarily based on cost, but on field observation,” McCoy said. “I spoke to residents in communities served by both contractors; I followed their trucks around and observed how they performed.”
McCoy reported her findings to city council members, who gave her the authority to award the city's trash contract.
“I was leaning towards Ameri-Tex,” she said. “However, Waste Connections dropped their prices some, so I wanted to be fair and have another meeting with them.”
Waste Connections wanted to re-negotiate the contract, McCoy said, which would have cut service but increased rates, especially for commercial customers.
“Ameri-Tex presented a personalized offer for Elkhart, which we believe to be in the best interest of our customers,” she said. “Ameri-Tex is large enough to service our city, as well as surrounding cities, but is still personalized in service.”
Every customer in Elkhart will receive a 95-gallon garbage bin, called a “polycart,” free-of-charge. If needed, a second polycart will be provided for $5 a month.
Non-residents who use Elkhart's water supply may receive trash service at the same rate as city residents. Non-residents who want to add trash service to their water bill should call City Hall at 903-764-5657.
McCoy said Ameri-Tex representatives have already demonstrated their interest in the community. Ameri-Tex representatives have pledged two $500 scholarships to Elkhart Independent School District per year; one for a boy, and one for a girl. Ameri-Tex employees also volunteered to cook hamburgers during the Elkhart Community Festival Sept. 7.
“They surprised everyone that day by presenting the Elkhart Volunteer Fire Department with a $1,000 check to go towards repairs on a ladder truck,” McCoy said. “We [city officials] are looking forward to working with Ameri-Tex.
“I'm sure there will be some bumps in the beginning, but I'm confident once the drivers are familiar with the routes, and residents get used to the pickup schedule, all will run smooth.”