Creve Coeur's current contract for trash service doesn't expire until next summer, but city council members Monday night debated with city staff and waste haulers the merits of extending the current agreement or calling out for new bids.
The current vendor, Allied Waste, has proposed a three year extension which would save the city $120,000 annually, in exchange for fixed 3 percent annual rate increases. City staff and a number of city committees recommended accepting the extension, arguing that, largely because Creve Coeur provides rear yard service, and few cities in the area do, "We don't see a situation where the city is going to save money going out to bid," City Administrator Mark Perkins told council members Monday night.
A staff report cites changes in the waste hauling landscape locally, including Allied Waste's acquisition of one of the firms which bid on the last rear yard service contract in 2007. Perkins and city staff would support a competitive bidding process if the city moved away from rear-yard service.
Hanging over the proceedings are questions raised about Allied Waste's involvement in the passage of a 2010 Sales Tax ballot initiative, which was presented to the public as a way to ward off residents having to pay trash fees for three years. After the initiative passed, campaign organizers admitted that Allied Waste covered costs associated with printing campaign material. The Treasurer behind the campaign later revised state ethics filings but denied any wrongdoing. In light of those issues, Ward 3 Councilman Bob Hoffman suggested even if the deal makes good business sense, the city would need to be prepared to explain the political decision to extend the contract without a competitive bid.
Tony Lamantia, Allied Waste's Manager of Business Development, Municipal Services, told council members his firm was able to provide a better deal because it has the workers and trucks. He added that rear-yard pickup has become more difficult for other haulers because of the manual labor and insurance issues involved.
But IESI Missouri Marketing Manager David Poger countered, and said his firm could field a competitive bid. "The only way in a public domain to discern you're getting the best price is by going out to bid," he said.
Council members heard first reading of the contract extension Monday night. If the city decides to put out a request for proposals, city officials said bids could be revealed in March, giving a potentially new firm 60 days to be prepared for the start of service July 1, 2012.