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Bellevue council awards garbage contract to high bidder
Bellevue votes for a garbage contract with Republic Services that will cost single-family residents $2.70 a month more than they would have paid under CleanScapes’ proposal.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Bellevue’s longtime garbage hauler, Republic Services, will pick up the trash for at least another seven years.
Even though Republic will charge more than its competitor CleanScapes would have charged.
And even though CleanScapes scored higher on a staff analysis of “qualitative” factors such as customer service and compliance with their existing contracts.
The City Council voted 5-0 Monday night to award a contract worth nearly $20 million a year to Republic for seven years, with an option to extend it for seven years.
Two council members said Tuesday they voted for Republic — even though it will mean higher household garbage rates — because the company has provided good service and they didn’t want to take the risk of shifting to another hauler.
A typical resident with a 32-gallon cart will pay $2.70 more per month for service by Republic than he or she would have paid under CleanScapes’ proposal.
The monthly fee will rise from $20.78 to $23.92. CleanScapes offered to pick up the trash for $21.22.
Rates for commercial and apartment service, and for drop-box pickups, will also be higher under the Republic contract.
“The qualitative factors were close, so it came down to what we thought would be the best service for our citizens at a reasonable rate. There just weren’t compelling reasons to go through a change and take a chance they wouldn’t be able to deliver,” said Councilmember John Stokes, who seconded Jennifer Robertson’s motion to award the contract to Republic.
“If it were just on the cost factors, it wouldn’t even come to the council except to rubber-stamp. We had to exercise our judgment and it was tough,” Stokes said.
“Citizens depend on somebody taking out the garbage every week,” said Mayor Conrad Lee. “You know how it is. It’s something that we don’t do, so we depend on a reliable contractor.”
Lee said the cost difference between the two contract proposals “is not significant when you spread it around all the customers, the ratepayers.”
Republic and its predecessor companies have hauled trash since Bellevue first hired a contractor, perhaps as early as the 1960s, said Utilities Department spokeswoman Susan Fife-Ferris. The city is not legally required to accept the low bid, she said.
Councilmembers Claudia Balducci, Don Davidson, Lee, Robertson and Stokes voted for the Republic contract. John Chelminiak and Kevin Wallace abstained, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, based on business dealings with waste haulers.
Balducci, Davidson, Lee and Wallace have received campaign contributions from both CleanScapes and Republic. Robertson received a contribution only from Republic.
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information in this article, originally published Sept. 10, 2013, was corrected Sept. 11, 2013. A previous version of this story didn’t mention that Councilmember Jennifer Robertson received a campaign contribution from Republic.