Charlottesville is seeking a consultant to study the efficiency of its recycling and reuse program.
The city issued a request for proposals earlier this month that closes on Aug. 29.
The RFP calls for a review of the city’s solid waste program, existing contracts, resources and services.
“Our program as it is today has been in place for quite some time,” said Marty Silman, public services manager.
Silman wasn’t sure of the last time the city took a “wholesale look” at its services.
The goal of the study is to increase services, maximize funding and improve efficiency.
The solid waste program operates at an annual deficit of $800,000, which is covered through the general fund. The city is starting to take measures to cut costs as an ordinance change for leaf collection cleared a first reading from the City Council on Monday.
The ordinance would discontinue collection of leaves in plastic bags.
Charlottesville uses both internal staff and external contractors to deliver solid waste services.
The contracted services cover three transfer stations, curbside pickup, trash services and limited composting.
City workers conduct street sweeping, large-item pickup, leaf collection and some curbside trash and recycling pickup in the downtown and uptown areas.
The city is also in an agreement with the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority to manage the city’s recycling facility on McIntire Road and a transfer station for recycling and yard waste in Albemarle County.
Kristel Riddervold, the city’s environmental sustainability manager, said many people move into Charlottesville from larger cities with a more robust composting program and the city wants to examine how it can provide that higher level of service. She said Charlottesville does conduct some food and organic waste programs, but only on a “small scale.”
“A lot of it is keeping up with changing expectations that are informed either by needs or goals,” she said.
Silman said there’s a budget for the program, but he didn’t want to disclose it so as not to influence potential proposals.
“This is going to be a pretty big effort.” he said. “The idea is to leave no stone unturned, essentially.”
There’s no solid timeline on the study, Silman said. Once the consultant presents its recommendations, city staff members would give a presentation to the City Council.