The City of Windsor will consider privatizing garbage collection after city councillors voted in favour of the idea at their regular meeting Monday night.
The 8-3 vote means the city will begin accepting bids on the private collection of 25, 50 or 100 per cent of its waste.
Private collection could save the city between $400,000 and $800,000 a year, according to a report prepared by Ron McConnell, the city's interim director of environmental services. The city currently pays $3.2 million a year for waste collection and $400,000 for yard waste collection, the report said.
"Our obligation is to make sure we provide good service and at the best possible cost," said Coun. Alan Halberstadt, who voted in favour of considering outsourcing.
Cost is not the only reason to look at private options. When the city's inside and outside workers walked off the job in April, many residents "felt they were held hostage" because their garbage wasn't collected, according to Coun. Bill Marra.
"I've never been confronted with any concerns around the quality or cost of services as it relates to garbage pickup," Marra said. "But it became a major flashpoint issue when it was gone for some 100 days."
Debate on the issue lasted two hours.
When it was over, Jim Wood, the president of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 82, which represents the city's outside workers, expressed his anger at what he called a "100 per cent political" decision.
"They all want to be re-elected next year, and they're posturing right now to get in there," Wood told CBC News.
Though his union plans to participate in the tendering process, Wood said, "we're doing our research and we'll be there to fight them when the times comes."
The tendering process is expected to take three months.