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Sullivan administration explores selling Anchorage trash collection utility

  • Author: Devin Kelly
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published March 3, 2015

The administration of Mayor Dan Sullivan is exploring whether to sell off Anchorage's trash collection utility.

At Tuesday's Anchorage Assembly meeting, the administration introduced a resolution that seeks to "set up a structured process to sell Solid Waste Services' collection business."

Solid Waste Services comprises two utilities, one handling trash collection and the other operating the Anchorage Regional Landfill and two waste transfer stations. The administration is looking at selling only the trash collection side of the operation, which a city spokesman said employs about 25 people.

Sullivan said in an interview a sale is not imminent. He said the administration is seeking guidelines from the Assembly if the city does ultimately move forward with a sale.

"It's a big decision," Sullivan said. In his time as mayor, he said, the city has received unsolicited private bids to purchase the trash collection service.

The resolution did not spell out the financial reasons for seeking a sale.

If the Assembly supports the resolution as it's currently written, the administration would move to contract with a "financial consultant" to prepare an analysis of Solid Waste Services, including an assessment of how much the trash collection utility is worth, Sullivan said.

Once that report is completed, the administration would move forward with the bidding process, Sullivan said. The Assembly, which currently sets the rates for the utility, would authorize the sale.

"We're not anticipating there would be any job loss, but that's part of the evaluation you do, and make sure it makes sense for the city, ratepayers and taxpayers," Sullivan said.

Rumors of a sale had circulated for months. On Tuesday, city union leaders were quick to condemn the administration's resolution, which comes four months before Sullivan leaves office.

"The public won't be able to weigh in on the sale of the utility, and there's no discussion on how possibly Solid Waste Services might be able to bring in more money," said Jillanne Inglis, president of the Anchorage Municipal Employees Association, who attended Tuesday's meeting.

Inglis said the union is also concerned that jobs will be affected and employees will lose collective bargaining rights.

The administration's resolution was laid-on-the-table, meaning it wasn't made publicly available until just before Tuesday's meeting. Assembly Chair Dick Traini said he's set a public hearing for April 28.

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