The Midlothian city council approved a contract to change the city's sanitary waste service provider by one vote after hearing from two companies and from several residents who spoke in favor of the city's current provider.

The city has contracted with Republic Services for about 20 years to provide sanitary waste service to residents and businesses. Council members Jimmie McClure, TJ Henley, Mike Rodgers and Mayor Bill Houston voted in favor of awarding the contract to Progressive Waste Solutions. Council members Wayne Sibley, Joe Frizzell and Ted Miller voted against awarding the contract. The new contract will begin Aug. 1.

When the sanitary waste service contract with Republic came up for renewal this year, the council asked staff to issue an invitation for other companies to submit proposals, said Ann Honza, finance director for the city. Of the three companies that submitted proposals, the review committee felt one was less experienced in the U.S. and had higher prices. Of the remaining two, Progressive submitted a proposal that had a 20 percent low residential pick up rate and slightly lower for commercial pick up rate than Republic's proposal.

Republic's proposed rates were 2 percent higher than the rates in the city's current contract with them, Honza said.

The prices Republic proposed matched the local market, said Pat Moriarty, a division manager for Republic.

“We had asked for a 2 percent increase. It would have placed us in the middle of what in average across the market today,” he said. “You have outstanding service at an average market rate.”

Many people, including herself, go to the store expecting to pay more for the brand of mayonnaise or dishes they trust, resident Vicki Massey told the council.

“I pay more for the brands I love,” she said, motioning to the dozen of Republic employees who were seated in the audience.

Republic's employees go out of their way to help senior citizens in the community, allowing them to place their trash near the door instead of walking all the way to the curb or clearing tree limbs out of the yard after a storm for a man fighting cancer, Massey said.

“They have a heart and they wonderful wonderful people. They go out of their way for us all the time,” she said.

Republic has made itself part of the community for a long time, Sibley said.

“They pick up the trash that is blowing on the ground,” he said. “Having been here so long, I think Republic is kind of part of our family and they do emphasis safety. I can't see us going way for Republic myself.”

Progressive is able to offer lower rates because it is operating from a local hub, a Progressive representative told the council members.

“We have a lot of competitive advantages. We have a hub in the Midlothian business park,” he said.

Progressive's landfill is also much closer so the drivers do not have to travel as far to either arrive at the neighborhoods or to empty their loads, he said, resulting in lest cost for the company. Progressive will purchase about $1.7 million of trucks and equipment and hire 12 new positions to work in Midlothian, he said.

“These are all good paying jobs with good steady work,” he said.

Some of those positions will be filled by current Progressive employees who want to move to Midlothian routes, he said. And because the company has a hub in Midlothian, it will be buying supplies, truck parts and gas in the city, he added.

The difference in cost was a major concern for him, Rodgers said. He has worked with both companies and received high quality service from both at his home or business, he said.

“The difference between the companies for my dumpster will be $4,000,” Rodgers said.

Council members considered tabling the contract and allowing staff to negotiate prices and services with both companies, but city manager Chris Dick and the city's attorney Joe Gorfida cautioned against starting a bidding war now that both companies knew the other's proposed rates.

Another issue with Republic's proposal were changes the company had suggested be negotiated in the contract the city had sent out with the initial invitation, Houston said. He was not comfortable with a company rewriting the city's contract, he said.

After a motion to deny the contract made by Sibley and a motion to approve the contract made by Henley failed because they were not seconded, Houston's motion to approve was seconded and passed.

In other business, the council members approved adjusting the speed limit on Farm-to-Market road 1387 from 55 mph to 50 mph between Virginia Boulevard/Daisy Road to Bryson Lane. Henly suggested the city find a way to work with the police department to warn people of the speed limit change after it is approved by TxDOT.

 

Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email bkurtz@waxahachietx.com. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BethanyKurtzMidloMirror or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.