Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Would you rather have a choice in selecting a waste hauler or have the city pick one for you?

The Rochester City Council will discuss the issue Monday and review the results of a survey that found strong opposition to changing the current system of waste collection.

The Rochester Energy Commission has identified solid waste collection as its top priority and wants city administration “to explore the idea of an organized collection system to support the City Council’s goals of environmental stewardship, fiscal responsibility, and sustainability.” A firm was hired to conduct a survey last month to see how residents feel about the proposal.

Among the results:

By a 2-1 margin (56%-28%), respondents indicated they oppose changing the current system of choosing their own hauler.

The survey summary says intense opposition to a city-run system was almost three times higher than intense support (23% - 9%).

Nearly half of the respondents considered their choice of a hauler as “very important” and 3/4ths listed it as “somewhat important.”

The report says the key reasons for opposition to a change are “want choice of haulers” and “like current hauler,” at 31% and 17%, respectively.

The survey also found the dominant reason for choosing their current hauler is “lower rates.”

City Council Member Michael Wojcik first suggested the designated hauler system in 2015. He said other cities in the state had adopted the policy and found it resulted in lower bills for residential customers.  Wojcik said the other advantage in a designated program is the reduction of wear and tear on city streets caused by multiple haulers. He says the extra maintenance cost to a city is estimated at $1-million per year.  Wojcik favors a districting system over a single hauler. This would result in one hauler operating in a designated part of the city.

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