The Village of Darien board approved two contracts it was not happy with on Sept. 19, but the alternatives appeared worse or unavailable.

      The first contract discussed was with John’s Disposal for recycling collection. The village currently pays John’s $4.90 per unit per month for bi-weekly collection from the village’s 531 eligible units for a total cost of $31,223.

      John’s submitted a proposal to increase the rates for 2023, the last year of the current contract, by 8.6% due to increased costs. That would increase the cost to the village for 2023 to $33,899.

      John’s proposed a second option: renewing the current contract for five years with no cost-of-living increase for 2023. That would keep the 2023 rate the same as it is now with future rate increases to be negotiated annually.

      Administrator Lindsey Peterson said the proposal came in too late to be reviewed by the Public Works or Finance Committees. She said she was disappointed the village had to make a decision now.

      The current contract has a year left on it, so she assumed the village would not have to consider renewing or finding a new vendor for at least six months. The contract requires a decision within 30 days of John’s making a proposal, so the decision had to be made now.

      Peterson said she contacted Nieuwenhuis Brothers and was told they were short staffed and could not take on more contracts right now. Trustee Ken Truckey said it would probably be difficult to find a new vendor if the village chose to not renew with John’s, so he made the motion to approve a five-year renewal that passed unanimously.

      The board also approved Option One of several options presented for a 2023 contract with Metro to provide ambulance services. Option One was the most expensive of the three options at $466,596 per year or $38,883 per month. A group of elected officials, municipal staff, and fire chiefs from the Darien, Sharon, and Walworth communities met and recommended that option to keep pace with what neighboring communities are offering.

      Darien Fire/EMS Chief Scott Fisher said some departments are now offering participation in the Wisconsin Retirement System to attract staff and the department has already lost two staff members to another department because of that.

      While the board did not seem enthusiastic about this option, three of the six municipal boards that are part of the department have already approved it. The option simply needs a majority vote to be adopted, so even if the village board chose another option, it was likely Option One would be selected anyway.


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