Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Solid Waste Committee refuses to bid anything but a one year contract for manual collection

Last night it was too late to comment on the Solid Waste meeting and the trash hauling discussion. But with the whole issue turning unbelievably political today (via emails), I really need to begin explaining this.

The result of last night's meeting was fairly simple - the Solid Waste Committee made clear to the Town Manager that he should move forward on issuing a bid for a one year contract. Altieri and Decaprio supported this idea. I strongly opposed it, but tried to keep it simple.

I suggested we issue a bid similar to the one that we issued five years ago:

But I suggested that instead of asking for both

1) hauling & tipping bids and
2) hauling only bids


We ask for the hauling only bids, but split that into requests for one year and five year offers.

Rather surprising to me, this idea was rejected. I tried to make clear that I wasn't demanding the Town move to automated hauling or demanding the Town enter into a five year contract. I simply wanted options... same as we had five years ago.

Again though, my suggestion was rejected by Altieri and Decaprio. They insisted that the Town offer a bid that requested only a one year contract with manual collection.

Altieri, Decaprio and the TM defended their position by talking of their concerns:

1) contract complications
2) recyclable market uncertainties
3) contract uncertainty with a start date for automated collection


The first two issues are strawmen.

The "contract complications" refer to the fact that since the Town's contract for trash disposal services with CRRA expires in one year... and a new contract with Covanta will replace it... then a five-year trash hauling services contract begun on July 1 2009 would be complicated because it would relate to two trash disposal contracts and will require two contracts. But this is bogus. Either way, the Town will be engaging in two separate contracts... even if the Town executes a one year contract now... we'll still be executing another contract in 12 months.

The "recyclable market uncertainties" is a reality, but it's also a rather hypocritical argument. At other times last night, arguments were made for "budgetary certainty." And there was a great deal of consternation regarding future budgets. But if that's a real concern... one would want a long-term contract for trash hauling services now... right? Of course, that's not the real concern.

The third issue is avoidable by simply eliminating the automated option. Instead, we could simply request two options:

1) manual pickup for one year
2) manual pickup for five years (or some length of time greater than one year)


But the other people at the meeting were vehemently opposed to anything other than issuing a bid for manual pickup for one year. And the conversation even harkened back to the Council meeting when Altieri requested a bid waiver... noting most Council members seemed to be calling for bidding the contract for one year. And that's fair enough. But then why have the Solid Waste Committee discuss it further? And why does Chairman Altieri refuse to entertain new ideas? He seems to oppose anything that wasn't discussed at the Feb 10 Council meeting. That's leadership for ya - working in an open-minded, collaborative style.

Speaking only for myself obviously... subsequent to the February 10 meeting and upon further consideration... I concluded that requesting other bid offers made sense. It's basically what we did five years ago. So why not do it now?

But the Solid Waste Chair would have none of it. He insisted on moving forward with a request for only a one year manual collection. And that's what staff intends to do.

There's a problem with a one year contract though. It's entirely possible that without several years to amortize the capital costs for equipment... one would have to absorb all those costs during one year... driving up the cost of the one year contract.

So I think it's fair to expect that bids for a one year contract will be higher than if we requested bids for five years.

My question: Why not issue a bid for multi-year contracts?

Sure they claim that there are "unknowns" with the recyclable markets. But then their presumption must be that the recyclable market will rebound next year. And if that's the case, are these same people asserting that the economy will recover next year? Seems doubtful to me that the recyclables market will recover next year, if the economy hasn't recovered.

I have to wonder if there are any unspoken reasons for why the Solid Waste Committee refuses to issue a bid that requests multi-year service contracts.

One last note... at the meeting I again took partial blame for not having acted sooner on this. I didn't hear anyone else say anything of that nature though - shocker.

Tim White

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course the bids for a 1 year contract will be highter than a 5 year contract bid. Don't you get it? They want the bids to come in high so they can come back and say "We told you so!". It's an election year and they are playing politics instead of trying to get the best deal for the town.
Anytime you use Altieri and DeCaprio in the same sentence when discussing anything to do with budgetary issues, you know we are in trouble. I don't think either of them can balance their own checkbook.
It is sad that they have to play these games when many of us are fighting to keep our jobs and pay our bills.
Keep fighting for us Tim.....

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that the town knew about 5 years ago that the current contract would expire now but as of now has yet to issue a request for proposals.

Something is really out of whack with this town's government. Where has the town's chief executive (TM) been for past 5 years on this topic? Why hasn't the TC been more realistic about planning for an RFP to be issued on such-and-such a date if it had 5 years advanced notice?

The folks on the committee who had 5 years to put it all together should consider handing in their resignations.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break.

Why do so many people expect our town to be managed effectively? Don't they understand that there have been more important items to maneuver, the hiring of the over- priced Mall Planner to help push major changes to the town's zoning, helping to speed the W/S mall applications through the towns commissions, supporting the special interests, giving out contracts to the local boys for engineering and other services, supporting reevaluation in a time of falling house prices and the pushing of artificial turf that has taken much more time than had been planned.

With the exception of the turf, the local boys are happy.
So, you see there is not enough time to do everything. It's simply a matter of priorities.

Anonymous said...

RE: "hiring the over- priced Mall Planner to push major changes to zoning,

helping to speed the W/S mall applications through the towns commissions,

supporting special interests, giving out contracts to the local boys for engineering and other services,

supporting reevaluation in a time of falling house prices,

and pushing artificial turf" --

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Bottom line on trash: Altieri and Milone had five years to plan to put out bids in a timely manner, and they failed (or refused).

It also appears that the Town Manager is becoming more directly partisan with the council.

It's time for a change in Cheshire.

Robert DeVylder JR said...

Did anyone miss the part where Milone, Alteri and DiCaprio mentioned that they couldnt go forward with the hauler contract until the Coventa deal was finalized? Cant ask for a price to haul something to an unknown location. As much as I jumped on Tim for not trying to do this sooner, I now understand why nobody else did.

Why is it Tim did not argue to with the Board of Ed to put the bus contract out to bid? Seems to me something is amiss when Dattco approached the town and made essentially the same offer as AJ Waste and it wasnt turned down. Difference is Dattco asked for a 5 (FIVE) year extention at 4.5% first year/4% remainder for 4 year increase. That looks like alot more than 2.35%. Looks like the bus company is lining pockets!

I understand that it Dattco reported that everyone else is going to increase their rates by 10% so their 4% is a bargain. That doesnt matter anymore. The solid waste committee reported that other towns and trash haulers said that we were going to get a good rate from AJ but the council decided to bid it.

I say put treat Dattco like AJ and put the contract out to bid. Whats good for 1 is good for all.

Anonymous said...

They'll get what they want one way or another.

They won't put a 5 year bid out because they know they would get bids on the one and 5 year contracts.

But, a 1 year only contract will only get a reasonable bid from only AJ. Aj already has the equipment to just keep rolling merrily on. Other haulers would have to get equipment and hire employees, and this is no easy task for a lousy 1 year contract. Face it folks, they won. I think the only way to beat them is to accept AJ without a bidding process for the one year. Follow this with a lot of pressure to put out a five year contract as early as possible.

I think if you put it out for bid for the one year, AJ knowing he has us by the eyeballs, could up his price and the boys would say, we told you so, ha, ha, ha.

Anonymous said...

This whole garbage thing stinks! When a contract is coming to an end, it should always go out to bid, especially when it's this much money. Seems Altieri and DeCaprio are just using the whole situation to their advantage. Although perhaps the public should be made more aware they opposed a 5 year contract and only wanted a 1 year - obviously a 5 year would bring a more favorable price. So it's their stubborness that might be causing an increase in this contract. Heck - look what the dems did with the Norton Boiler job - they refused to go w/CT Combustion and insisted on spending 70K more w/WB.

Anonymous said...

I know everyone believes that the buck stops with the TM when it comes to this particular trash hauling contract. Ask yourself who under the umbrella of the TM is directly, hands on, the overseer of the trash hauling responsibilities?

Another brilliant blunder by our Public Works Director..it's time to give Joe a bonus!!

MJR

Robert DeVylder Jr. said...

Anonymous said...
I know everyone believes that the buck stops with the TM when it comes to this particular trash hauling contract. Ask yourself who under the umbrella of the TM is directly, hands on, the overseer of the trash hauling responsibilities?

Another brilliant blunder by our Public Works Director..it's time to give Joe a bonus!!

MJR

March 01, 2009 12:36 AM


And, what is wrong with the person who oversees the haulers responsabilities? He doesnt sign the contract, pick the vendor, or sign the checks. He works with whoever the Council tells him to.