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Process of choosing a new garbage hauler called into question | Letter
Since Bothell's current garbage hauling contract with Waste Management ends on Dec. 31, the city sought bids for providing service for the next seven-and-a-half years. City staff, with the assistance of an independent consultant, conducted a very thorough and in-depth analysis of the proposals received from Waste Management, Republic Services and CleanScapes.
The evaluation process included getting references from other cities and evaluating proposed customer service approaches, system design and operations issues and, of course, rates. In the end, the staff recommended that CleanScapes be selected as our next hauler and listed 10 specific reasons for this choice, in addition to the fact that their 'cost of service' bid was about $4.5 million less over the life of the contract than the second choice - Republic - which had the highest rates.
On March 4, the staff presented this information to the City Council and some questions were raised and additional information requested. On April 1, the Council received the staff's responses and heard from each company. Staff still recommended CleanScapes.
What happened next seemed a bid odd. Councilman Mark Lamb suggested that Republic (alone) be given the chance to lower its price. Mayor Joshua Freed wanted the staff to conduct 'final' contract negotiations with both CleanScapes and Republic. Councilman Del Spivey supported Freed's suggestion. Why would these three seem so keen on giving Republic another shot when all bidders had been asked to provide their best offers up-front?
Well, it turns out that all three had received campaign contributions from Republic during their last election to council - Lamb $150, Freed $300 and Spivey $300. It's worth noting that Freed and Spivey ran unopposed in 2013 and that Steve Booth received $600 from Republic in his losing race against Councilwoman Tris Samberg, who took no money from any company, last year.
In the end the council, on a motion by Samberg, voted to proceed with CleanScapes.
Bill Moritz, Bothell