Northampton extends trash pickup service

Published 4:17 pm Friday, June 30, 2023

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JACKSON – The Northampton County Board of Commissioners agreed to an extension of the county’s contract with GFL Environmental Service for trash pickup during their June 19 meeting.

The two-year extension will not come with a rate increase.

County Manager Julian Phillips first brought the matter to the commissioners’ attention at their June 5 meeting, a non-voting work session.

Phillips explained that the county had put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for trash pickup service, but had received a number of clarification questions about it and only one bid. He told the board that he thought it would be in their best interest to instead rescind the RFP and extend the current contract with GFL, which was set to expire at the end of June.

“There will be no rate increase during this extension period,” Phillips reported, adding that this action would give them more time to revise the RFP and perhaps receive more competitive bids in the future.

“I don’t think it’ll take us two years to rectify a bad RFP,” said Commissioner Geneva Faulkner.

She said that she had received several citizen complaints about their trash not being picked up on time, and though the issue has recently improved somewhat, it’s still something that needs to be taken care of. She suggested a contract extension until December 2023 instead.

Phillips said he initially requested December as well, but GFL insisted that the only extension they would do would be for two years, ending in June 2025. The company could also submit a bid for the RFP but it would be at a higher rate than the current contract.

At the June 5 meeting, the commissioners discussed whether or not they should move forward with the extension or wait to see if they received any more bids. They acknowledged that GFL is one of the only trash pickup providers in the area, and also agreed that there wasn’t enough time to call for more bids by the end of the month without causing a lapse in service.

“There’s this thing called a rock and a hard place,” remarked Board Chair Charles Tyner as he asked the commissioners for their thoughts on the matter.

“What I just heard is… there’s really nothing we can do,” said Commissioner Kelvin Edwards, expressing disappointment about the situation.

Faulkner suggested removing a line in the renewal contract that stated “contract will renew for successive two-year terms unless either party gives notification of non-renewal at least 90 days before the expiration of the contract.”

The discussion concluded with Phillips and Board Attorney Scott McKellar saying they would work on negotiating that part of the contract.

At the June 19 meeting, Phillips presented the contract extension again. The 90 days non-renewal notice stipulation had been removed from the contract and replaced with “The agreement may be extended for an additional two (2) year period upon mutual written agreement by both parties.”

“Personally, I don’t think it’s a bad deal,” Tyner said, emphasizing that the rates will not increase.

He said trash pickup is more convenient than having to take your trash to a dump site.

“They (GFL) have problems like everybody else,” Tyner continued, noting problems with labor and truck mechanical issues.

Without any other discussion, Edwards motioned to approve the two-year contract extension, and Commissioner Melvetta Broadnax Taylor seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor.