SANFORD: Council tables vote on contract for solid waste collection services

Feb. 20, 2013 @ 05:03 AM

The Sanford City Council voted Tuesday to table awarding a contract for solid waste collection services for at least two weeks.

Councilman Samuel Gaskins made the motion during the council's regular meeting because of the amount of information delivered to the council within the past 24 hours, he said.

Several employees of Waste Industries, the lowest bidder for the five-year contract at $96,675.92 per month with new carts, spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting on the positive impact Waste Industries has on the communities with which it partners.

Long-time trash pickup provider Waste Management is the second lowest bidder at $100,159.68 per month without providing new carts and $115,559.68 per month with providing new carts. 

During last week's Law and Finance Committee meeting, Waste Management urged council to consider the local people employed by its company and the fact that its transfer facility that provides $40,000 per year in taxes.

But Waste Industries Division Manager Frank Lorick said the transfer station should be a non-issue because Waste Industries would "like to establish a stronghold here in Lee County."

Councilman Jimmy Haire suggested all of the council members take a trip to the current transfer station before the next meeting so they have an understanding on about the vote.

Before the agenda was officially approved by the council, a closed session was called to "consult with the attorney employed by the public body to preserve the attorney-client privilege."

The council returned after 20 minutes to discuss if council members physically absent from the meeting could participate and vote by phone. Councilman Charles Taylor was not present during the meeting, but was on speaker phone.

State boards and commissions are able to have conference calls, Sanford Attorney Susan Patterson said, but there have been no rulings on whether this also applies for local boards.

A motion ruling voting could not take place over the phone until an official policy is in place was passed by council. Gaskins, who made the motion, said there was no way of knowing if a person is under distress if they are participating by phone, he said.

Taylor said via phone during the meeting that council did need a policy but he had voted previously during a meeting by conference call and former Lee County Commissioner Ed Paschal was able to vote via conference call during a Lee County Board of Commissioners' meetings while ill.

"The fact that there is a precedent and I am not the determining factor in a quorum," Taylor said. "I just want to point that out."

Taylor said he wanted Patterson to draft the policy so he could "run it through other channels," but did not state what those were.

It was then the council voted to table the discussion on awarding the trash removal contract.

The council's next regular meeting is scheduled in two weeks.