Published: 08 March 2017
Dear Harahan Residents,
There are several reasons the City of Harahan did not request a proposal (RFP) for recycling simultaneously with the solid waste contract. By first addressing the solid waste contract alone, the city could reasonably expect more proposals with more competitive rates. This did indeed turn out to be true. The City will be seeing significant savings for this service from past years.
In 2011, the City's solid waste contracted was renewed and the subsequently amended to include recycling. The Council, by a simple motion, accepted the amended contract and the Mayor placed a $4.40 recycling charge on the water bill. The rate imposed was comparable to that of Jefferson Parish. The fee, however, did not completely cover the cost for the additional service.
When this administration first took office, we asked the former contractor to provide the data on the city's recycling program to include the number of participants, and a breakdown of the amount of material recycled. At that time, they provided several months of data which showed that 38% of residents recycled. When recently reconsidering recycling, we asked for the same information but to include all of 2015 and 2016. The former contractor stated that its routing methods, collection, and processing, along with commodity information and participation were the company's proprietary information. Thus they would not be providing Harahan the information.
In December 2016, we also learned that the Harahan Christmas trees, all of which were going to a central Jefferson Parish collection site, could have been sent to Wood Material's Harahan composting facility. Composting at this site is currently under litigation. I specifically requested that Jefferson Parish ensures that the Harahan trees be used only for wetlands restoration and not be sent to the Wood Material composting facility in Harahan.
The Christmas tree issue, RFP competitiveness, low recycling participation, and lack of information from the prior contractor, confirmed our decision to make the recycling program the subject of a separate agreement. We want to be very specific in the recycling contract about the City's right to know where the material is going. The Jefferson Parish Water Department was directed to remove the $4.40 recycling fee from the water bill as of March 1st.
Until the curbside recycling issue is evaluated and handled, the City will be placing community recycle bins at 4 locations: Harahan Senior Center, Harahan Playground next to the gym, Harahan City Hall parking lot, and the Harahan Maintenance Building. We will inform the public once the bins have been delivered.
I hope this explains the issues surrounding Harahan's recycling program and our plans for the future.
City Hall: (504) 737-6383
Fax: (504) 737-6384
Cell: (504) 388-6422