Bid process begins for new trash contract
Summit County’s 7-year relationship with its trash hauler has been tumultuous at times so the County Commission is seeking bids from other firms interested in removing residents’ garbage.
Formerly known as BFI, Allied Waste Service’s exclusive contract with Summit County to pick up residential and commercial waste in the area ends in July of 2007. This week, commissioners finalized a request for bids from companies interested in replacing the company in Summit County.
The new contract will not include commercial pickup, instead, the County Commission has asked bidders to submit costs to pick up garbage at single- and multi-family homes for the next five years.
"County staff will also prepare its own bid for residential waste service," Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan said.
Though Callahan is against Summit County entering the trash business, County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme claims Public Works could haul the garbage less expensively than Allied Waste Services and could more efficiently address neighbors’ complaints.
The Summit County Commission met Wednesday with those from the waste hauling and recycling industries who plan to bid for the 5-year deal.
Representatives from Allied Waste Services did not attend the meeting but the company is expected to compete for another contract.
Meanwhile, bids will also be accepted from firms interested in picking up recyclables at homes in Park City, Snyderville and the South Summit area.
Summit County currently contracts with Allied Waste Services and a company called County Curbside to provide recycling services to homes in the area.
County Curbside can recycle glass because the company manually sorts material it collects. This could leave bidders like Waste Management of Utah and Allied Waste at a disadvantage when commissioners select a new firm because those companies’ automated recycling systems cannot process glass.
"By using manual we are able to recycle more material," Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott said.
Still, the commissioners scrapped portions of the bid request that required the county’s new trash hauler pay Recycle Utah, a Park nonprofit, $20,000 to fund a recycling-awareness campaign.
"What that does is commit the contractor to say they’re an active partner in waste reduction," objected Callahan.
"Whoever is hauling our waste ought to be a partner with us in waste-reduction programs."
With the request for proposals, commissioners have also tweaked how holiday trees are disposed of in Summit County.
Trees must be picked up at the curb after Christmas instead of community drop-off sites, Callahan said.
"It stops the piling of all of these trees in public locations where we receive numerous complaints because the trees show up in April, May and June," he added.
With the bids due Sept. 29 and the County Commission scheduled to decide on a new waste-hauling contract by Oct. 25, a new hauler would have a scant eight months to prepare to take the job over in July.
"We still have some concerns," Park City Public Works Director Jerry Gibbs said. "Unfortunately, I think Summit County has taken more of a piece-meal approach."
He blasted the County Commission for considering hiring another hauler without adopting long-range plans for the two landfills in the area.
"You have to take a comprehensive look," Gibbs criticized.
Gibbs says he is also concerned that by leaving it up to business owners to hire their own commercial haulers Summit County will contribute hordes of garbage trucks to Old Town.
"We’re concerned if it’s multiple contractors Main Street is just one of the issues," he said.
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