By Stephanie Edwards
Ben Calia, City Procurement and Contract Services Manager, presented a proposal to the Finance and Budget Committee to enter into a contract with Town and Country, LLC for waste removal and recycling services with the city. The contract would begin on July 1, 2017 and continue for one year through June 30, 2018 with the option of four additional yearly renewals. These services affect city properties and not residential dwellings.
Councilmember Diane Seif commented about multiple complaints from her constituents regarding the service by the provider. The company, she said, is still not picking up trash in a timely fashion and some customers are skipped. Seif stated that the company was her personal trash company and planned to retain their services. “It’s unfortunate that we do not have other bidders,” she said. “Forty-nine e-bids went out. There is something wrong when we can’t get more response.”
“It is just unfortunate that we have to reward someone that is not doing their job,” Seif said.
Calia said that the bid process began in April of 2016. The deadline for responses was extended because of a lack of response, he explained. Potential respondents were contacted. Two responses were received, but one was deemed “non-responsive.”
“These are the responses we got,” Calia said.
The other bid was significantly higher than that of Town and Country, LLC, he said. In twenty-five years, he had never had a trash service contract that did not have its issues.
Councilmember Seif said one of the problems she hears over and over is a lack of response to customers who try to reach out to the company when there are problems. Customer service is a problem, she said.
Calia said the city followed up with several local companies who did not respond to the bid. Two of the companies stated that they did not have the number of trucks to respond.
Councilmember Diane Forte said that she had Town and Country, LLC as her personal trash service and had no problems. She explained that she wished the company would get their customer service issues ironed out. She explained that the company now provided its workers with important benefits such as health insurance.
Councilmember Carlyle questioned whether the contract should reflect the new name of the company in light of a recent buyout. Calia explained that the company specified the use of “Town and Country, LLC” on the contract over WCA as the company is now known.
Forte moved to present the ordinance to the full council. Seif voted “nay.” The motion moved on toward the council.
An extension was also proposed. The extension would maintain prices at their current levels through the end of June. The reason for the extension, according to Calia, is an increase in prices in the new contract over current prices. The new rates increase more than 100 percent. Calia said the main reason for the increase is the addition of charges for recycling services which had previously been provided free of charge.
Christal Weber, assistant city manager, commented that recycling used to make trash companies money but now does not. Some locations in the previous were bid “artificially low” and now reflect market prices, she said. “It didn’t seem unreasonable at all,” she said. “They were in line with other bids in the area for entities our size.”
Councilmember Forte asked if a letter sent to the vendor admonishing them for better customer service might be in order. Weber advised against anything other their simple, friendly communication with the company.
Councilmember Forte moved to send the extension on to the full council through June 30, 2017. The proposal was moved on to the full council.