A few small haulers say their loss of business to Haden Trash Removal won't ruin them or drive up prices to remaining customers.
Five Carroll cities and towns decided recently to get a volume discount by giving one hauler all their business -- Haden Trash Removal of Glyndon, which submitted the lowest bid.
"This isn't going to put us under," said Dixie Hughes of Hughes Trash Removal. "We're going to keep going. It's just a matter of sitting back and reorganizing."
"We're still picking up commercial [businesses] in Taneytown," she said, as well as some households surrounding the incorporated city.
Haden starts this month picking up trash in Westminster, Taneytown, Hampstead and New Windsor, as well as continuing in Union Bridge.
When the proposal was made by Westminster Mayor Benjamin Brown, representatives from some towns feared the move would drive small haulers out of business, then allow the successful bidder to raise prices without fear of competition.
Edged out were two small Carroll hauling companies that used )) to contract with most of Taneytown's residents. Until this year, Taneytown had no municipally run pickup, so several haulers served individual households.
Mrs. Hughes said she doesn't blame the towns for trying to save money, but she says they won't get the service, such as pick-up of large items, that small haulers could have given individual towns.
Hughes in Hampstead and Woods Waste Removal in Silver Run, the predominant haulers in Taneytown, are the two Carroll haulers most affected by the unprecedented move by five cities and towns.
The much larger Eastern Waste Industries also lost all of Westminster and Hampstead, and bid unsuccessfully for the five-town package.
Repeated calls to an official at EWI were not returned last week.
Mrs. Hughes estimated that her company had served three-quarters of the households in Taneytown, though she and other haulers make a point of never giving the exact number of customers they serve.
They submitted bids for individual towns, but are too small to have been able to serve all five, she said.
At a meeting for potential Taneytown bidders, Edward Hughes had said his family business might not survive the loss of Taneytown.
But now, his wife says they're going to make it without laying off any of their 21 employees, many of whom are family members.
"We started out 20 years ago with 300 customers and one truck, and we built it to six route trucks. Well, five now," Mrs. Hughes said.
Woods is even smaller, with two trucks, and owners William and Michelle Woods and one other employee pitch the trash.
Both Hughes and Woods have raised their rates to individual customers by $3 a month, but each company said the reason was not the loss of business to Haden as much as the county's increased tipping fee.
Also, Mrs. Hughes and Michelle Woods said they and their employees are keeping busy with the new recycling program the county requires them to offer to their customers.
"It's more work," Mrs. Woods said. "It takes us longer to run our routes now."
Mrs. Woods said she still wants to meet with Union Bridge officials about why they went with the unified bid from Haden of $44 per household instead of Woods' lower offer of $32 per household for only Union Bridge.