City Council to consider privatization of trash service at Monday meeting

November 12, 2010
Santa Paula City Council

It appears the City Council could be the verge of a major shift in policy when they consider bids for privatizing trash services at Monday’s meeting.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. and move behind closed doors for discussion on unspecified anticipated litigation.

Council will reconvene in open session at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will be filmed live for broadcast on Time Warner Cable Channel 10 and re-aired according to schedule.

The light agenda has one heavy subject: whether or not the council should accept one of the bids submitted on franchising out refuse services or keep services in-house.

That discussion will follow the monthly report on the city’s struggling budget.

The city had fast-tracked the issue by skipping standard request for qualifications; the council seems to be on an even faster track as it has the option of shutting down its refuse division and giving residential business to a private hauler at Monday’s meeting.

One short-term bonus of privatizing trash services is the city could dip into the $1 million refuse division reserve fund.

Although the staff report notes that the city’s $27.50 monthly refuse service is among the most expensive in the county, all the bidders show rates that range from $25.26 to $28, including the franchise fee for 96 gallon bins. Santa Paula has the lowest rate for multi-bin services including the $70 cost for 3-yard bin pickup per week; bidders show a cost ranging from $101 to $140. Several bidders also offered lower pricing on smaller bins for residential customers.

Loss of additional city staff that would impact the city negatively in an emergency or disaster was also addressed in the bids, with several companies noting they would respond to city needs.

Bidders also had to comply with the mandate to hire present city refuse division employees for two years.

The city also mandates a five-year agreement with two, two-year extensions and bidder E.J. Harrison & Sons noted their terms are based on a nine-year contract. Harrison also offered to pay the city more than $6 million in upfront franchise fees for the contract.

The meeting will be held at City Hall Council Chambers, 970 E. Ventura St.

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