Athens City Administration urged City Council Tuesday to reject all three of its bids for the municipal refuse and recycling contract due to a “failed” bidding process.
Service Safety Director Andy Stone said the administration was shifting directions from its previous recommendation to go with the lowest refuse and recycling contract bid, Waste Away. City administrators thoroughly reviewed all three bids and discovered that all bids should be rejected for various reasons.
Waste Away, the lowest bidder, submitted a company check for its bid guarantee. That goes against both the bid instructions and Ohio law, Stone said. Waste Away is also not a registered hauler under Athens city code.
The second bidder and previous refuse and recycling contract holder is Athens-Hocking Recycling Center Inc., or AHRC. AHRC’s bid was rejected because it is also not a registered hauler under Athens city code.
“We are not certain why they are not registered since they have been under contract with the city for four years,” Stone said, “but believe this is a remnant from when collection services were part of the solid waste district.”
Rumpke, the third bidder, came in with the highest bid for the contract. Stone said the city does not believe the bid is economically feasible.
The current contract with AHRC expires on June 30. After AHRC wanted to extend their contract at a higher rate, Athens opened up the bidding process.
After recommending that council reject all three bids, Stone said the council should declare an emergency and authorize Stone to renegotiate an extension to the AHRC contract for up to one year. Stone also recommends that council allocates the necessary expenditure for that contract.
“This will allow us to update the request for bids, adjust the evaluation criteria as appropriate and rebid the work,” said Stone.
Stone would like to rebid in six months. He also requests that city code changes to remove the limit on the number of haulers and decrease the annual licensing fee. That would allow for AHRC and Waste Away to get their hauling licenses.
About 50 people spoke out about the refuse and recycling contract at the meeting. AHRC workers and board members were high in attendance and spoke in favor of the business and renewing the contract.
Beth Clodfelter, a member of the AHRC board and an at-large City Council candidate, said a local company having the contract allows for a more in-depth knowledge and care for the city.
“When I became a board member, they let me ride around on one of the recycling trucks with them, and these guys are incredible,” Clodfelter said. “They know the city like the backs of their hands.”