What began as a routine process to issue a new trash collection contract has turned into a major economic development proposal in Covington that would bring the City $8 million, 50 new jobs, and a new home for its Public Works Department. The Covington Board of Commissioners is discussing two separate but related proposals:
  • Hiring its current trash contractor, Rumpke Waste & Recycling, to a new, 10-year contract beginning July 1, 2020, that will cost the City almost a quarter of a million dollars less a year than its current contract.
  • Selling to Rumpke – for $8 million – the property at 4397 Boron Drive that is currently home to its transfer station and the City’s Public Works offices, garage, outbuildings, and road salt dome.
As part of the sales agreement, Rumpke would:
  • Take over operation of the transfer station as of July 1.
  • Demolish that facility and replace it with a new, 16,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility.
  • Remodel the Public Works office building to become home to Rumpke’s Northern Kentucky headquarters, including at least 50 full-time equivalent jobs.
  • Upon completion of the new transfer station, pay the City for the next 20 years a fee of $1 a ton for solid waste accepted at the station.
  • Give Covington residents a discount on household waste and bulk items that they drop off.
  • And honor the terms of the current lease for a portion of the property that’s being used as a fire training center.

“This is a real win for the City on many different levels,” said Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith, whose department oversees the Solid Waste & Recycling Division. The Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposals tonight and could decide to vote on them over the next few weeks.

The process started in December 2019 when the City issued separate but related RFPs (requests for proposals) for a new residential and commercial trash collection contract and for operation of the transfer station, Smith said.

Trash & Recycling Contract

The City’s current trash contract, a five-year agreement, expires June 30 of this year. Two companies submitted proposals, and the proposal from Rumpke was deemed the best by a seven-person committee from four City departments: Neighborhood Services, Legal, Finance, and Public Works.

Since Rumpke is the current provider, residents should expect to see no changes in carts, collection schedules, and bulk item curbside procedures, Smith said. Residential rates are set annually in the fall for the coming year.

Transfer Station

The RFP for the transfer station was open-ended, meaning the City wanted to hear companies’ ideas for the site and its aging facility, Smith said. The station serves two purposes – it’s where residents, commercial and industrial users can, for a fee, drop off large amounts of garbage; and it’s where other waste haulers can drop off trash collected in other cities.

“The entire process – the ideas presented and the discussion of them – served as a learning experience, and based on that experience we realized our best option for the site was to sell it for economic development purposes,” Smith said.

As permitted under state law (KRS 82.083), Smith will also recommend tonight a third piece of action by the Commission: that it reject the two submitted proposals for the transfer station itself and proceed to a negotiated sale with Rumpke whose essential terms include the above provisions.

If those proposals are approved by the Commission, City staff will continue to search for a new site for its Public Works facility, he said. The timing of the move is subject to negotiation.

For more information, visit https://www.covingtonky.gov.