Two firms vie for city waste contract

Feb. 14, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

More contention arose Wednesday between Waste Management and Waste Industries, two of the companies bidding to take over solid waste collection for the City of Sanford.

In Wednesday’s meeting of the Sanford City Council’s Law and Finance Committee, council members heard arguments from both companies as to why their bids should be accepted. Four companies submitted bids, but only representatives from Waste Industries (the lowest bidder) and Waste Management (the current contract holder) showed up to Wednesday’s meeting.

Waste Management submitted two bids — one using their existing carts and another anticipating buying new carts — while Waste Industries only sent in one bid, in which new carts were included. Waste Management’s bid with the new carts was the highest bid, at $115,559.68 per month. Their bid with the existing carts was the second-lowest, at $100,159.68 per month. Waste Industries’ bid was $96,675.92 per month.

But even though the Waste Industries bid would, at face value, save the county either $40,000 per year or $225,000 per year depending on which direction Waste Management goes, other factors such as local facilities and continuity played a large role in the council’s discussions Wednesday with representatives from the two companies.

Waste Management has a transfer facility in Lee County, whereas Waste Industries operates out of Raleigh and Fayetteville. That means that not only would keeping Waste Management mean potentially less wear and tear on roads, but it would also guarantee that the city and county continue taking in about $40,000 per year from utilities and taxes the company pays. Waste Industries has no such guarantee, although it is reportedly looking into building a site in Lee County.

Plus, said Chip Dodd, public sector marketing director for Waste Management, her company employs two dozen people locally, including 15 who live in the city.

“They buy shoes, they buy groceries, they are very viable to your economic situation,” she said. “And we would like to see them continue their jobs.”

Waste Industries CEO Harry Habets said his company would likely hire those same people if it got the bid because they have experience with both the town and the industry. But Dodd said that even if that were the case, those workers would have to drive from Sanford to Fayetteville or Raleigh and back for work instead of to the Waste Management site — which is located off of Boone Trail Road, a few minutes north of the Hwy. 421/U.S. 1 interchange — and which she said should be another consideration.

“We have a convenient, efficient and environmentally friendly location right here,” Dodd said.

But Habets said that soon, he hopes, Waste Industries will be able to make the same claim.

“We are in very active discussions with several locations,” he told the council. “... We are very keen to build a transfer station right here in Lee County.”

Council member Rebecca Wyhof asked Habets how soon it could be done, and fellow council member Sam Gaskins asked if the property would be within the city limits or just in the county limits — which would affect how much tax money the city would receive.

Habets said his company still hasn’t settled on a location and would welcome suggestions, and that employees began filing preliminary zoning paperwork about a month ago and could potentially be approved within three to five months if everything goes well.

Waste Management, for its part, has said it will be forced to hike up the gate rate at its transfer station if it loses the bid, meaning that individual people or businesses who use the location will have to pay more.

The city’s proposals include providing 8,800 units with solid waste, recycling and disposal services each week, for which Waste Industries proposed a fee of $10.70. Waste Management proposed a fee of $10.98 if the current carts are kept, and $12.73 if it provides new carts.

In Wednesday’s meeting, the council also:

- Heard a staff proposal to sell dozens of items, including trailers, computers, furniture, office supplies, generators, landscaping equipment, a Christmas tree and more in an online auction.

- Favorably discussed participating in an effort, led by the N.C. League of Municipalities, to band together with other municipal governments to try to get concessions from Progress Energy and Duke Energy, which are planning to raise their rates. If Sanford wishes to participate, it would have to pay the league $1,500.

- Heard a petition from New Hope Baptist Church to be annexed into city limits. The church is located at the corner of Beechtree Drive and Cotten Road.

The board could vote on these matters, as well as which bid to accept, at its next meeting: 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Municipal Building on Weatherspoon Street.