City of Sioux Falls Internal Audit department makes my case for public garbage service

If you FF to about 37:00 in the above video, you will hear an interesting discussion about the Landfill audit.

I have argued for a long time that a public garbage service would save taxpayers millions of dollars a year. I have also suggested, like plowing the city streets, the city should contract those services with the major haulers that already exist in our city. Many have argued that would kill competition and would cost more.

Horse Puckey.

1) We would save on fuel costs because the haulers would be assigned certain neighborhoods and could pick up everyone’s garbage on the street at the same time

2) There would be savings in administering the billing process, it could be attached to our water/sewer bill

3) We would save money on wear and tear to our streets

4) It would help with recycling which would reduce landfill costs

5) There would be no complicated tipping fee structure with the contracted haulers, which would make landfill workers jobs less complicated

The data the internal auditor provided proves to me that the only haulers that would be put out of business are the ones that are not doing much anyway. According to their data there is 27 licensed haulers in Sioux Falls. The 4 largest put up to 72% of the waste in the landfill. The remaining haulers account for 28% of the waste which means on average each of those haulers brings in about 1.2% of the waste individually.

If the current system was really providing ‘competition’ why are 23 haulers not doing much business?

The other irony is that of the 4 major haulers, 2 of them are under similar ownership and just have different names. It’s kind of like all the odd ball tree trimming service providers in town that are owned by a handful of people.

Folks, this supposed competition you talk about doesn’t exist. Stop kidding yourself. It is time the city contracts with up to 6 different haulers, divide up the city, and start a public garbage service. Don’t take my word for it, just ask our internal auditor, I think their data makes a great case for it.


#1 Sodbuster on 12.24.19 at 7:09 pm

This, from the guy pointing to corruption at every turn. More government ! Socialism, American style, we can do it better. Ya, right… Damn stupid.

#2 l3wis on 12.24.19 at 8:20 pm

Yeah, like clean drinking water is a ‘socialist program’.

Here is a little list you should look over, my guess is you use most of these programs . . . socialist.

#3 CHRISTMAS. IT'S HERE. on 12.24.19 at 9:29 pm

I hope garbage collection by the city is not a judgment call to the degree that plowing appears to be.

#4 D@ily Spin on 12.25.19 at 9:36 am

To many large trucks going down residential streets. I’ve lived around the country. What seems to work best is a five year contract with a large single private corporation such as Waste Management. Then, for individual subdivisions, trash is set out once a week at a specific time. Trucks are well maintained, modern, and inspected safe. 5 years because it falls between elections such that there’s minimal cell phone payoff competition at city council meetings. Yes, garbage collection is organized crime but the corruption is far less than if the city operated it.

#5 Sodbuster on 12.25.19 at 10:01 am

How many water lines should we bring to each home ? That sounds dumb. Want more dumb ? How about one newspaper ? What’s with all these restaurants ? I mean, come on ! It’s a cheeseburger ! And lastly, exactly what makes you an artist of any merit ? Are you actually purporting to do it in such a unique way that you could convince someone to cough up a dollar ? Sounds elitist and arrogant.

#6 l3wis on 12.25.19 at 1:22 pm

Sod, so you like paying more for garbage and not reducing landfill space while causing more maintenance to our streets, all in the sake of ‘competition’ so a handful of companies can stay in business? Huh? Seems to make sense 🙂 The problem with the ‘free enterprise’ argument is that it doesn’t work for everything. Just like you don’t hire a private utility company to provide you water or fire service. Some things just work better when you implement them thru a stringent public program. I actually think having a public garbage system (using private contractors) would be very easy to implement. We already have the numbers, we know we could provide this service with 4-6 haulers and we would have less problems at the landfill. I have always said the best government is no-nonsense government. It’s not that hard to figure it out when the solutions are staring you in the face. I commend the internal audit department for putting together a thorough report. I know they would never argue for public garbage service, but they don’t have to, the numbers show us that it would be worthy. And if I was on the council, I would move forward with public ambulance service at the same time.

#7 Erica on 12.25.19 at 7:29 pm

Hard pass. I like making my own choices on which service to use and if I for some reason dont find them adequate thatI have other options.

#8 l3wis on 12.25.19 at 8:37 pm

You know that the city already mandates your garbage service by having an ordinance telling you must have the service. In other words it is against city ordinance to NOT have garbage service. You can’t just burn your garbage in the backyard, or pile it up and take it to the landfill yourself once a month.

#9 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 12.26.19 at 12:50 pm

“You can’t just burn your garbage in the backyard, or pile it up and take it to the landfill yourself once a month.”

( – and Woodstock adds: “Oh Shxt!”)

#10 Jon on 12.27.19 at 7:02 am

I am not for a city run trash service. I lived in a town that had it and it was 20 dollars more monthly than I am paying now in a town that allows competition. I believe only having one hauler work for the city on a 5 year type of contract award would be fraught with corruption, so I am against that as well.

What I am for is to reduce the sheer number of haulers to half of what we currently have. I think there is something like 25 haulers currently, which is pretty ridiculous. It is a lot more wear and tear on streets and additional truck traffic that isn’t needed.

#11 l3wis on 12.27.19 at 1:28 pm

Jon you may be in to something. Maybe an ordinance requiring haulers to bring in so much tonnage to qualify as haulers. That could easily cut us down to 6-8

#12 Just No on 12.27.19 at 4:01 pm

I don’t like the idea of it being contracted by the City.

One city I lived in had contracted service and it always was awful. Complain to the City? They don’t care “overall” the company was meeting their contract.

Sound familiar? Sounds like a local ambulance contract.

HOAs got together to make group complaints. Still didn’t matter.

Call the company and complain? that was even worse. They know they have the contract locked based on price. That’s all the city cares about. Got hung up on about 50% of the time even before they knew it was a complaint.

Limit the number of contractors. Raise the price to license them or set a minimum amount to be able to access the landfill, but lose the ability to change providers and service/responsiveness will go down.

#13 The Guy from Guernsey on 12.28.19 at 9:27 am

“The Champion of ‘The Little Guy’ Favors Government Policy To Force Business Consolidation”

#14 The Guy from Guernsey on 12.28.19 at 10:00 am

This was an audit of procedure, policy and protocol. I see nothing here which offers support that landfill space would be reduced the result of pursuing your proposal.
In fact, the bar graph shows that landfill volume in ’16, ’17 and ’18 has increased (it should as the population grows), but that the increase in volume has come largely from sources which are not from licensed haulers (nor can it be attributed to The Big Four).
Not only is the smaller portion of volume fragmented (distributed among ~14 licensed haulers), there seems to be a growing volume from sources which are not licensed haulers. Perhaps a DIY component? And a militia of ‘volunteers with trucks and trailers’ mustering to the call to action by the Mayor.

#15 The Guy from Guernsey on 12.28.19 at 10:04 am

In before ‘Woodstock’ with this musing:
Say, speaking of DIY garbage and refuse disposal – I wonder how much of the increasing volume brought to the lanfill and which is outside of that attributed to delivery by licensed haulers is from the DIY Asbestos Demolition and Disposal dba of Norm Drake, Paul Cink, Larry Canfield and Aaron Hultgren?

#16 Mike Lee Zitterich on 12.28.19 at 10:17 am

I would not want the City controlling, let alone running a citywide sanitary service.

1) We have more than 25 Garbage Companies that do a fantastic job.

2) The cost of the service is kept low because of the ‘free market enterprise’ system of pricing.

3) Centralizing the service by allowing the City to contract to 1 or 2 big companies will create higher prices, less demand, and will raise our tax rates.

4) By centralizing the service you also would kill ‘american jobs’, kill the freedom to start your own company.

We do not have any issue with the system as it is today, in fact, I would loosen up the ‘regulations’, all the rules, letting the ‘waste delivery companies do what they do best. Regulations cost money, and the more you attempt to control the market, prices go up.

I utilize a small company today, and I am very happy with my service, I only pay like $37-38 dollars per month to have both my waste and recycling picked up. I would NOT want to pay for your service, nor would I expect you to pay for mine.

This is an example of some in our community to change something that is not broken, let alone allow the “City” to socialize one more part of the “Free Market System”.

We already seen what happens when the City attempts to over regulate and control select markets, they have killed the Taxi Industry by over regulating it, price controlling, and mandating upon them, while attempting to centralize the service into two foreign based companies (Lyft and Uber). It ruined the industry.

I will never favor allowing government to take over private businesses, this is what you would expect from a ‘communistic’ country, but this is America, and what made America Great in the first place was the fact ‘we’ forced Government to stay out of our private lives, allowing us to ‘sell’ our labor as freely as possible, without the need to pay taxes, let alone excessive taxes.

IF any City Councilor, State Legislator, or Government Employee attempts to create a plan to hijack and take over the “Waste Collection” free enterprise business, let alone any private business enterprise, I will lobby hard to remove them from office, get them fired, let alone speak out against them. I am very tired of people wishing to allow government to control people. I want to cut tax rates, de-regulate the free market system, let alone I want to cut the size of government. I will not be happy if this is allowed to happen.

Mike Zitterich
Sioux Falls

#17 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 12.28.19 at 3:31 pm

Between botting and other extra-curricular activities, along with city garbage hauling, could lead to the city knowing everything about us one day…. I noticed the other day the city was checking the sewers near my home, too…..

( and Woodstock adds: “Yah, all sudden one day the city will reach beyond the ‘Red Line’ plane”…..)

#18 Erica on 01.01.20 at 3:49 pm

Trash haulers now then they will say there are too many business delivery vehicles driving on the roads (which far outweigh trash haulers) then they will move onto too many larger vehicles owned by citizens and then limit how many vehicles families are able to own. It’s the “smart” city NWO way.

#19 l3wis on 01.01.20 at 4:09 pm

Erica, geez, I feel owned. Who knew there was other vehicles on the road.