The City of San Angelo extended its trash hauling/landfill operation contract in 2004 for a ten year period. With less than a year left City Council considered re-uping with Trashaway-Republic. Two months later Council directed staff to seek competitive bids. City Council minutes stated:
General discussion was held on whether to have an exclusive or open market contract and whether to base the contract term on the life of the site or fixed term. Mr. Kelton suggested separating the landfill and collection function as two separate contracts with the same term to maximize negotiations. In conclusion, Council directed staff to conduct a request for proposal. Mr. Kelton noted this process would allow staff to know the true value of the City’s asset and what is best for citizens. He noted upon review, the proposals maybe rejected and staff may renegotiate the contract with Republic Services.
It took four more months to get the RFP posted and bids in. A committee found Trashaway-Republic's bid far superior to Texas Disposal Systems. The group essentially had less than five business days to do their work, given the two weekends between March 21 and April 1. Roughly one month after their decision City leaders held a press conference to explain their logic to citizens.
It became a tougher sell after news broke that Trashaway-Republic included unauthorized charges in bills for its commercial customers, part of the franchise awarded by the city. I wondered what the city had done over the years to ensure Trashaway-Republic lived up to the terms of its contract. Had they audited any bills over the 37 year period for contract compliance?
This trash deal started under Will Wilde, shifted to Ricky Dickson and now is under Shane Kelton. Will didn't have to answer to anybody. Dickson and Kelton look continually surprised that their answers are less than complete and informative.
The process focused on renewing Republic from square one. It hasn't been open and transparent, despite recent efforts by city leaders.
There's usually more to discover when good ole boys operate laissez faire for decades. We'll see what else crawls out from under the landfill cover.