City Council Preliminarily Passes 3 Out Of 4 Garbage & Recycling Contracts

By John W. Davis

September 7, 2010 Updated Sep 7, 2010 at 11:50 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Fort Wayne City Council spent nearly two hours talking trash Tuesday Night.

The outcome, council members preliminarily accepted three out of four contracts, leaving National Serv-All's garbage disposal bid up in the air.

The total cost of the proposed contract is nearly eight million dollars.

City officials made a brief presentation to council members Tuesday night and explained that the new seven year contract would save residents about 2% on their monthly bill.

Right now, residents pay $11.24 every month.

The new contract would lower that cost to $11.00.

Meanwhile, the garbage collection contract, the recycling collection contract and the recycling processing contract was preliminarily approved.

However, the garbage disposal contract was voted down 5 to 3.

Councilwoman Liz Brown and Councilman Tom Didier were two of the five council members who voted against the garbage disposal contract.

Brown and Didier said they preferred the city enter into a three-year contract instead of a seven-year contract.

Meanwhile, Former National Serv-All President and current Earth First President Greg Walbridge made a brief presentation to raise his concerns to city leaders.

Walbridge said he has studied National Serv-All's proposal and said if diesel fuel prices go up, a fuel clause in the contract would allow National Serv-All to reap the benefits of that, by charging residents more on their monthly garbage bills.

"They have a very large position in this marketplace, some might call it a monopoly. They have 80% of the market and they are in a position to try to control the market and that's what they've done by the way they've bid this project," said Earth First President Greg Walbridge.

Councilwoman Brown said she also voted against the pending contracts because the city could have saved a lot of money by eliminating unlimited bulk pick up.

"We should be requiring the landlords to charge them or the landlords need to go after the tenants because we're spending $300,000 dollars a year," said Republican At-Large Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Liz Brown.

"The citizens of Fort Wayne are paying for the few that abuse it because everybody still has unlimited garbage," said Brown.

Meanwhile, Fort Wayne Public Works Director Bob Kennedy said his department will meet with council members to explain how the fuel clause will truly impact future monthly garbage collection and disposal bills.

The Fort Wayne Board of Public Works has already recommended that National Serv-All be awarded all four pending contracts.

City officials said National Serv-All was the low bidder in all four categories.

The contract would last for seven years.

A final vote is expected next Tuesday, September 14.

If National Serv-All's trash disposal contract is not approved, the contract could be opened back up for bids this fall.

The contract is expected to go into effect January 1, 2011.

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With the new proposed contract, city leaders hope to improve their current recycling participation rate which is 34%, to more than 60%.

The new program will allow residents to throw all recycling items into one container.

City leaders hope making it easier to recycling will increase household participation.

The new contract also calls for garbage collection to start at 6:00 a.m., instead of 5:15 a.m.




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