Omahans would put out their trash in two covered bins — one for trash and yard waste together, and another for recycling — under the new city waste hauling contract that Mayor Jean Stothert is recommending to the City Council. The 10-year contract with the Spanish company FCC Environmental Services would cost the city $22.7 million a year. That’s $7.8 million more than the city is paying this year, with personnel and equipment costs driving the higher expense, the city said.

But it’s the smallest increase of the various options proposed by bidders, Stothert said in announcing her recommendation Tuesday. “FCC’s bid is the lowest and best value for our taxpayers,” Stothert said. “FCC is a worldwide company and has the required experience and resources to deliver the required services.” The contract would have the option of two five-year extensions. Stothert said the decision will affect taxpayers for 10 to 20 years, “so it’s very important we get this right.”

Under the mayor’s proposed new contract, beginning in 2021, yard waste would be dumped in a landfill instead of generally unlimited yard waste being collected separately and turned into OmaGro compost. Stothert is trying to soften the blow of those controversial changes through three wrinkles. As part of the new contract, the city would add fall neighborhood cleanup events to the city’s traditional spring cleanups, and yard waste would be added to the list of things accepted at those events.

Omahans also could drop off yard waste at the OmaGro facility. And people could choose to pay extra for the city’s new waste hauler to take away more yard waste and trash. If people wanted the trucks to pick up more from their houses, they could buy additional carts from FCC Environmental. It would cost $91 a year (that’s $1.75 a week) for an additional cart for weekly trash and yard waste pickup, or $45.50 a year for an additional recycling cart. If people wanted to keep putting out leaves and grass clippings in paper yard waste bags, they could buy stickers from FCC and the hauler would take them away — for $1.98 per bag. It would still go to the landfill.

Stothert said it would be better for the few people who want extra services to pay for them themselves than for everybody to have to pay extra to benefit those few. Residents would be issued two covered, 96-gallon carts. Garbage trucks, powered by compressed natural gas, would automatically lift the carts instead of workers hefting them by hand. If, after 90 days people didn’t like the 96-gallon carts, they could request smaller, 48-gallon carts.

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