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Maple Valley City Council postpones decision on trash hauler

Maple Valley City Council members decided to put off making a decision on the city’s next trash hauler until after another public comment period at its March 10 meeting.

Community members and garbage hauler employees packed the Maple Valley City Council meeting to standing room only on Monday night.

More than a dozen people spoke during the opening public comment period at the meeting, including representatives from Waste Management, Republic Services and Recology CleanScapes, as well as Maple Valley residents, and residents from nearby communities.

City staff is recommending that the city’s next trash hauler contract go to Recology CleanScapes.

The city’s current contract is with Waste Management, which has been in place since 2007. It is set to expire at end of August and the city has been going through a competitive process through a request for proposals.

City staff presented the council with three options last spring in light of the impending expiration of the contract with Waste Management. The city could either: exercise one or both of two two-year contract extensions, negotiate a new contract with Waste Management, or go through a competitive process.

When going through the competitive process, the city has two options: go out for a bid or post a request for proposals. Diana Pistoll, public works program coordinator for the city, explained that a bid specifies what services the city wants and asks bidders to name their price, while an RFP asks bidders what they can do for the city allowing the city to negotiate from there. Pistoll said in a phone interview Tuesday morning that the city is not legally required in this case to accept the lowest bid.

A committee of city employees examined the different proposals and scored them based on factors like rate structure and amenities offered.

Pistoll told the council CleanScapes came out on top across the board.

CleanScapes currently services five cities in the area and is set to begin serving two more later this year.

Pistoll also explained to council that the CleanScapes contract would reduce rates to all rate payers, increase the annual franchise fee the city receives, and have customer service benefits like a web portal and mobile app, as well as an expanded list of recyclables. She also said that a total of $250,000 in annual savings would be passed on to rate payers compared to the current contract.

Many of those who spoke during the public comment period voiced their support for Waste Management because of the company’s community involvement and several spoke of how their children look forward to trash day because of the friendly Waste Management employees.

Some of the concerns that were raised by community members during the public comment were related to the distance that CleanScapes hauls their garbage, compost and recyclables, and that currently CleanScapes is bailing and storing recyclables while a new processing plant is being built, which is expected to open in May.

“For us it’s really a non-issue,” Pistoll said about the company temporarily bailing and storing recyclables.

Dan Bridges, manager of operations for CleanScapes, spoke at the meeting and said that the company is going over a contract with Cedar Grove Composting that would send compostable waste from Maple Valley to the local company. Bridges stated that CleanScapes hopes to have a signed contract by the end of this week.

After a lengthy discussion, the council decided to have an additional public comment period at the next meeting on March 10 before making a decision about the contract.

 

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