By Kevin Kelley
As expected, Westlake City Council unanimously approved, at its July 5 meeting, a five-year contract with Rumpke Consolidated Companies Inc. for trash and recycling collection.
Residents should not see any changes in waste collection when the new contract goes into effect next month, city officials said.
The city’s current plan is for Rumpke to transition to automated collection two years from now. Under automated pickup, all residents use similarly designed trash and recycling bins, the contents of which can be mechanically dumped into a garbage truck operated by a single worker.
However, the contract with Rumpke includes options that would allow Westlake to join a possible regional trash consortium or join another city’s competitively bid contract in 2014. The city also has the option of extending the contract one to three additional years.
Rumpke won the new contract based on submitting the lowest bid of the four companies that competed for the work. Under the new contract, Westlake could save up to $4.5 million compared to costs under the current contract with Republic Services, service Director Paul Quinn said.
Rumpke’s bid for the first year of the contract was $12.48 per household; the next lowest was $13.27. The rate under the current contract with Republic Services is $16.55, Quinn said.
During the public comment section of council’s July 5 meeting, Don Johnson, a representative of Kimble Companies, made an 11th-hour pitch for his firm, which was among the four bidders. Noting that council members had expressed concerns about an eventual switch to automated collection, Johnson reminded them his company had submitted an alternative bid under which residents would have the option of getting recyclable automated bins. That bid was only slightly higher that Rumpke’s winning one, Johnson said. He argued that Kimble’s alternative would provide a way of testing out automated recyclable collection and residents’ reactions to it. However, council proceeded with its approval of the contract with Rumpke.
Mayor Dennis Clough said city officials conducted due diligence in bidding out the new contract and coming to the conclusion to go with Rumpke.
“We’ve checked the references of Rumpke,” the mayor said. “They have gotten very good references. We feel confident that they will be able to provide us very good service. We’ve made them aware of the expectations in the community. They have indicated that they will have no problems with meeting those expectations. And should there be any complaints or issues that come about as a result of the transition, they will handle those during the same day. So we feel confident that this is in the best interests of our citizens in saving the additional dollars over the term of this contract to award the bid to Rumpke.”
Both the mayor and council President Mike Killeen praised the work the current contractor, Republic Services, has done in recent years. Republic unsuccessfully bid for the new contract.
“Unfortunately, in a public atmosphere the low bid absent any other major factors is usually where you have to go,” Killeen said.