By Luke Phillips
The Holtville City Council is asking for more information before deciding on the future of the city’s trash disposal contract.
The city’s 7-year contract with Allied Waste Services expires in April of this year. The city has the option of negotiating a new contract exclusively with Allied Waste Services, or of preparing a Request for Proposals and putting the contract out to bid.
At a meeting Monday, Jan. 25, the council voted 4-1, with council member David Bradshaw dissenting, to table the matter of Holtville’s trash contract after council member Bianca Padilla said that she would like to have more information before making a decision. Padilla said that she would like to see more information and comparisons on other cities in the Imperial Valley that have switched from Allied Waste Services to the valley’s other two waste service providers – CR&R and Palo Verde Disposal.
“I’d like to get, if we can, some more figures,” Padilla said. “For example, I heard the city of Imperial did negotiate with Allied, and I’d like to get some kind of comparison figures. And maybe some other comparisons, like El Centro, who didn’t go with Allied. That’s what I’d like to see.”
If the council decides to put the contract out for bid, it runs the risk of changing revenue generated by the 12 percent Franchise Tax agreement with Allied Waste. A new contract would mean that the city would have to negotiate new terms for tax revenues.
According to a report to the council from city manager Laura Fischer, each option has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Negotiating exclusively with Allied would mean less staff hours and resources would be required, but putting the contract out to bid would mean a more transparent hauler selection process and more competition.
“We need to act on this fairly quickly,” Fischer told the council. “Our rates right now are higher than most cities, so there is a lot of room to negotiate.”
Council member Jerry Brittsan urged the council to negotiate exclusively with Allied, outlining many of the advantages he sees in staying with the company.
“A number of things come to mind when thinking about the 7-year option with allied waste,” Brittsan said. “Currently, Allied provides a number of things. It’s assistance to the chamber during the Carrot Carnival and the rib cook-off, 50 percent of the salary for the recycle coordinator, semi-annual cleanup for the city, bulk item pick-up on a routine basis, and special pick-up as needed. At this time no other company has a landfill site, so free dumping would be eliminated if we went with another company. It also offers free Christmas tree pick up. The funds from Allied include, but are not limited to, $10,000 a year for alley maintenance and a 12 percent franchise fee. There was recently negative public feedback regarding the Sheriff as our police protection here in the city of Holtville, so we have lived with negative opinion before.”
Council member David Bradshaw supported putting the contract out for bid.
“With more than one vendor interested in our city, I think we should explore our options,” Bradshaw said. “It’s not that I have anything against our current trash pick-up service, it’s just that I think we should put it out there on the street and see if we can get a better deal for our taxpayers.”
City manager Laura Fischer will be directing city staff the gather the information requested by the council, and the city’s trash contract will be back on the agenda for action by the council at their next meeting Feb. 8.