Republic wins bidding war

Published 5:07 pm Sunday, March 8, 2015

WINDSOR – The Bertie County Board of Commissioners at their regular monthly meeting here Monday have voted to enter into contract negotiations with Republic Services, operators of the county’s Landfill on Republican Road, to now begin operation of the county’s convenience center trash sites.

The move would end operation of the sites by Waste Industries, who had held the contract on the sites with the county since 2001.

If a contract is negotiated, Republic Services would take over the convenience center sites beginning July 1, a day after the old contract expires on June 30.

Prior to their regular meeting, the Commissioners met individually for two and a half hours in a special meeting with both Republic Services and Waste Industries.

“They made a very detailed examination,” said County Manager Scott Sauer, who was present at the special meeting.

The proposals were originally slated to be discussed in regular session at the prior Board meeting held in Powellsville on Feb. 19; but after some discussion, the Board agreed that the two bids received needed additional attention, thus the scheduling of the special meeting.  It was set to be held on Thursday, Feb. 26, in the Commissioner’s Room in Windsor, but postponed until Monday due to the inclement weather.

Monday, each firm made a presentation to the Board of the service they would offer the county over the next 5 to 10 years as convenience center operator.

“It was a question and answer session,” said Sauer. “Both companies made very thorough presentations.”

The contract extension proposal from Waste Industries would continue at the current annual cost of $496,180 for the operation of the County’s five solid waste and recycling convenience centers.

Republic’s proposal included a 10-year contract term and a monthly fee of $36,859 or $442,308 annually which would be a savings of 10 percent, or more than $500,000 over the life of their proposed agreement.

During one of the public comments sessions at the Feb. 19 meeting, Don Byrum, a Waste Industries site attendant employee, had questioned the need for two competing bids.  Waste Industries, he noted, had operated the convenience sites on a renewed five-year contract since 2001 and there was concern among the employees over job security.

Matt East of Republic Services spoke after Byrum and expressed that Republic Services has been present in Bertie County for a number of years and have made donations to many organizations within the county.

Vice Chairman Tammy Lee as well as Commissioner Stewart White expressed concern that if Republic Services were to receive the new contract, would Republic maintain those current convenience site workers; at which time East assured them the current employees at the convenience sites would have the first opportunity to maintain their positions.

The five convenience sites would grow to seven with the landfill counting as eight: Hardentown #1 and #2 near Merry Hill, Lewiston #1 and #2 off NC11-42, Rosemead, off Nowell Farm Road, Windsor #1 and #2, both off US 13 South, and the Landfill.

During the regular meeting there was no discussion among the members of the Board.  Commissioner John Trent made a motion to enter into negotiations with Republic Services, seconded by White.  The motion passed without dissent.

“We will now go forward with negotiations with Republic Services for the convenience center contract,” Commission chairman Ronald D. “Ron” Wesson said following the vote.

Commissioner Tammy Lee thanked Waste Industries for the job the company had done in the county operating the centers.

Attending and representing Waste Industries were Government Contracts Manager Norma Yanez and Southeast Regional Vice-President Thomas Winstead.  Just before the duo left the meeting, Trent noted that nothing is done yet, only a vote to enter into negotiations.

“We made a motion to start negotiations,” Trent cautioned. “We haven’t finalized negotiations with them (Republic) yet.”

“You guys have served us well and done an excellent job,” added Wesson. “We took everything you presented into consideration today, but we could only pick one; but thank you very much for your services.”