published: Friday, March 08, 2013
Back to square one after council rejects solid waste bids
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Though varied opinions were revealed regarding the issue of Solid Waste during the Sebring City Council's first monthly meeting Tuesday evening, the council's majority won the vote to reject bids city administrator had received from hopeful vendors.
Prior to Tuesday's meeting, the Solid Waste Committee (which composed of workers as well as members of the council) met to discuss the commercial rates for city businesses.
Council member Andrew Fells had already shown a distaste for the bids prior to both meetings and stated that the bids should not be taken. Council President John Griffin was put off by Fells' suggestion and felt something needed to be done quickly to solve the problem.
"My opinion is that we've been doing better than we were 10 years ago. If we're going to raise the rates for commercial, the private sector will make more money ... we tried that before and the council rejected it," Griffin stated.
Still, Fells felt that the city's 138 commercial accounts, if rates are raised, could provide additional revenue to the city.
The issue, however, was not so much the idea of raising the rates for those accounts but what to do about the less than successful Request For Proposal procedure.
"I think there is some selective memory going on here," councilman John Clark said. "Looking at the $1.6 million for capital purchases just for trucks, I thought our RFP was really well done. We took a bunch of ideas from other communities and somehow we still screwed it up. If we can, we should be a little more clear in our specifications this time."
Griffin stood firmly on his objecting opinion.
"These guys are going to manipulate the numbers so they can make a profit. We are wasting our time; it's going to be another five or six months down the road ... They're going to charge our business accounts more money, but if you're OK with that then ...," Griffin said.
During the Solid Waste Committee meeting, a recommendation was made to rescind the recommendation to award the contract to WCA Waste Corporation. The recommendation was also made to reject all the bids that weren't useful to the city.
Councilmen Scott Stanley also agreed that more concise direction was needed during the bidding process.
"I would support bidding again with clearer direction. At this point, we don't have the proper information though," Stanley said.
Fells made a motion to reject, rescind and rebid for the solid waste commercial rates and services following further research and analysis of other communities and cities. Griffin also made note that the city procedures could still change when the county makes its next move with its solid waste and recycling plans.
The motion was passed 3-2 with council members John Griffin and Bud Whitlock casting the dissenting votes.
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