Bid deadline extended

Published 8:52 am Thursday, November 13, 2014

WINDSOR – If you’re thinking about getting in on the bidding process to operate and maintain the trash convenience centers in Bertie County, you now have some extra time.

Almost three months extra time.

At its regular month meeting on Nov. 3 the Bertie County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to extend the deadline for accepting convenience center operator bids until Feb. 3.

Having just killed any possible idea of even considering curbside waste pickup at their October meeting, it looked as if there would be an extension of the existing agreement.

Waste Industries has had the current contract on the five waste sites since 2006 and desired to extend it to 2020, but the county advertised for bids from other waste vendors, setting an original deadline of Nov. 6.

Outgoing Commission chairman J. Wallace Perry had even said he was going to sign a new contract on the convenience sites before he left office at the end of this month.

Now he won’t make that deadline.

During the public input portion of the Commissioners’ meeting, Republic Services – who maintains the regional landfill between Aulander and the community of Republican – appeared before the board and said they would like to make a bid, but the approaching deadline would make that nearly impossible.

But Republic had another caveat: a plan that could cut the county’s costs by 10 percent, saving the county nearly $50,000 a year.

In the current terms of the landfill agreement, signed in 1998, Republic pays Bertie County a portion of the revenue it takes in from the landfill.

That amount has added up to a $24.6 million windfall for the county since ‘98.

“That’s why the landfill is a line-item in our current county budget,” says County Manager Scott Sauer.

Moreover, Republic has committed $1.1 million to both Bertie County Schools and the county YMCA, making for a total of nearly $26 million contributed for over 15 years.

Matt East, Division Manager for the landfill, who appeared before the Commissioners at the meeting said at first Republic had not thought to enter the bidding process; but once they did they were facing the early November deadline and time was running out.

The Commissioners wanted assurances that should Republic be awarded the contract, they would be ready to operate and maintain the sites when Waste Industries contract expires in June of 2015.  East assured the Board that they could do so.

Waste Industries currently owns two of the current convenience center sites and leases two others.  The status of the fifth site is unknown.

While Republic says it felt it could save the county money – speculation is as much as 10 percent over current costs – the Commissioners still had questions, particularly on the amount of savings to the county.

East ended his early public comment remarks by just asking that Republic be given a shot at the bidding process, but it could not be done unless an extension was granted.

After the Commissioners finished the regularly scheduled meeting agenda, they voted unanimously – with only Commissioner Rick Harrell absent – to extend the bidding process, thus giving Republic the needed preparation time for its bid presentation.