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Bothell City Council votes for new garbage hauler

City of Bothell - Contributed Art
City of Bothell
— image credit: Contributed Art

The city of Bothell is in negotiations with CleanScapes to assume garbage services at the end of this year when the Waste Management contract expires in December.

Staff will be taking the proposed contract to city council for consideration on the May 20 board meeting. The city of Bothell currently contracts with Waste Management, Inc. to provide comprehensive services for solid waste, recyclables and organics collection. The current contract began on Jan. 1, 2006 and will expire on Dec. 31, 2014. The contract was extended for two years past its initial expiration date of Dec. 31, 2012.

Waste Management’s 2011 Proposal for Renegotiation included a 7 percent increase for existing, pre-annexation customers. Staff did not feel this met with the council’s objective to minimize the rate impact to citizens. Staff provided Waste Management with an opportunity to reevaluate the rates and bring a more competitive offer to the table and Waste Management declined to do so, city staff said.

“Waste Management’s proposed rate increase and the changes to annexation were key factors that led to the decision to reevaluate options,” said Erin Leonhart, public works director for the city of Bothell.

On Oct. 28, 2013, the city advertised a Request for Proposals (RFP) and three local haulers, Republic Services, Waste Management and CleanScapes submitted proposals. An RFP evaluation committee comprised of staff from multiple departments (public works, finance and executive) met on Feb. 7, 2014 to evaluate proposals and interview proponents to determine the highest score for selecting the new hauler.

The new contract would be 7.5 years and allows for three extensions at one year each. Seven years is currently the industry standard for a solid waste contract. The reason for an additional half year is to avoid future contract change overs during the winter and potential inclement weather impacts, explained Leonhart.

Public Works staff began researching options for a new solid waste contract in spring of 2010. Staff initially pursued renegotiating with Waste Management; however, after unsuccessful negotiations, staff began to pursue a competitive Request for Proposals process to identify a service provider. Some of the factors impacting the decision by the city to move forward with a competitive process were the unsuccessful Snohomish County annexation and rate structures provided during renegotiation efforts that would have led to an increase in pricing without changes to services, according to a city spokesperson.

Staff extended the current Waste Management contract for two years to ensure continued service to customers while working through the process. The competitive process provided the city the opportunity to review services, compare other city programs and seek out creative ideas from local haulers to improve services to residents and businesses. The objectives included enhancing curbside collection, providing better education and customer service options and providing the most competitive rate structure.

Three local haulers, which included Republic Services, Waste Management, Inc. and CleanScapes, submitted proposals. All of the haulers could meet the Jan. 1, 2015 start date and all had detailed plans and experience making these transitions as simple as possible for residents.

City staff say that moving forward, the city of Bothell will have two haulers collecting material: Waste Management will serve the recently annexed King County areas with rates in the current Waste Management contract for at least seven years and CleanScapes, if approved by council, will serve the city area existing prior to annexation for the duration of the new contract. Staff say they plan to make this transition process seamless through online reference tools, social media notifications, up-to-date information on hauler and city websites and weekly meetings with the hauler to make sure transition process deadlines are met.

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