Swartz Creek council votes to switch to GFL for trash collection

SWARTZ CREEK — GFL Environmental will assume trash and recycling collection in the City of Swartz Creek beginning July 1.

The Swartz Creek City Council voted 4-2 on Monday, May 10, to award a five-year contract to GFL, the lowest of three bidders.

Republic Services, the current provider, and Waste Management also bid on the contract.

Mayor Pro Tem Rae Lynn Hicks and Councilman John Gilbert voted against the motion to select GFL.

Hicks explained that she researched both companies since the last meeting when council first discussed the options. She said she sent emails to both companies, talked to residents and officials of neighboring communities, and read through the companies’ respective websites.

“They’re pretty equal,” Hicks said.

Ultimately, two factors weighed heavily in her decision. First, GFL is a Canadian-based company; second, it’s non-union.

“It was not an easy decision,” she said. “I heard lots more from GFL than I did Republic, so that was a plus. Everyone I talked to went back and forth. I just had to pick something that was important to me and the union versus non-union was important to me. Their services all seemed pretty good.”

Councilman Nathan Henry noted the cost difference. Going with GFL will save the city $15,600 in the first year and $138,960 over the life of the five-year contract.

“I know it would be well within our ability to accept the higher bid, but I don’t see anything exceptional coming from Republic that would convince me to do that,” Henry said.

Republic had come under scrutiny in recent years after residents and area officials complained about issues such as missed collections, which Republic officials have endeavored to correct.

Councilman Dennis Pinkston said the decision wasn’t easy.

“That’s a tough one when you don’t know what the other one is capable of,” he said. “Hopefully, (GFL) won’t disappoint us.”