HAYWARD -- The city wants to talk trash.
Hayward is asking residents, business owners and landlords what changes they would like in their garbage pickup -- and whether they are willing to pay for it -- as the city renegotiates its contract with Waste Management.
"I thought that this is the right time to negotiate with Waste Management to see if we can get new services (the) community has said they want," said Alex Ameri, city director of public works for utilities. The city is surveying customers through May.
Waste Management has collected garbage in Hayward since at least 1940, when the company was known as Oakland Scavenger. The contract was to expire May 31, but the City Council extended it a year. The city also hired consultants to help with the negotiations, and the firm will draw up guidelines in case talks with Waste Management stall and the city decides to seek bids from other haulers.
"We are seeing progress in our negotiations with Waste Management, but we're not there," Ameri said.
A Waste Management spokesman said talks with Hayward are ongoing.
"We are looking forward to the survey findings that will help shape our service offerings for the residents and businesses of Hayward," said David Tucker the company's director of community relations.
The surveys can be filled out online by going to Hayward's home page at www.ci.hayward.ca.us and clicking on the Waste Management Survey in the middle of the page. It also is at the city's libraries and City Hall. The results will be used in the talks, said Vera Dahle-Lacaze, city solid waste manager.
If possible, the city would like to offer similar services for houses and apartments, Ameri said. The survey will help gauge residents' interest and willingness to pay.
"For instance, we have a popular program, a bulky item pickup, where single-family customers leave items at the curb once a year. We want to learn if residents want a second pickup each year," Ameri said. It would cost more; how much would be determined during the talks with Waste Management.
The survey asks apartment owners if they would prefer metal recycling bins rather than carts and if they are interested in the hauler collecting green waste and food scraps for a fee.
Apartment landlords have also said they want bulky item pickups, Ameri said.
"But are they willing to pay for it? It's not actually free; single-family customers are paying for the pickup through their rates," he said.
Apartment manager Greg Foley said he would like negotiations to address illegal dumping at complexes, which he called a huge problem.
"I'd like to see if we can get lower cost furniture and mattress pickup," said Foley, who manages the Dixon Townhouse Apartments on Dixon Street. He pays a company $50 an item to haul away abandoned items, and the cost can add up to more than $1,000 a year, he said.
His tenants aren't the dumpers, he said, and he's installing cameras to help catch the culprits.
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.