Spokane Valley has been working on picking a solid waste collector since last year, and at Tuesday’s Spokane Valley City Council meeting Waste Management won the main contract.
Waste Management has held the contract since 2014, and packed city council chambers with staff wearing its trademark neon green jackets.
Spokane Valley does not require residential garbage service or operate a solid waste department. With a value at around $13 million, it is one of the biggest contracts the city awards.
City staff and a hired consultant independently evaluated proposals from Sunshine, Waste Connections and Waste Management, taking into consideration the haulers ability to perform the service as well as how they score on customer service and past service history.
“These are three very qualified haulers and three very qualified proposals,” said Erik Lamb, Deputy City Attorney. He added that city staff did not know how the consultant had scored the companies while staff was conducting interviews.
It was the options to the contract that stimulated the most discussion among council members.
There was an option for two-household cleanup calls to help residents remove larger items like appliances and furniture; a once-a-year yard cleanup service that would pick up 192 gallons of yard waste for free, and the use of universal carts.
Lamb said there are 3,497 customers who use their own cans or carts and save about $2 a month.
However, the contract picked by council on Tuesday comes with a universal trash can and also saves single family residential customers 70 cents a month, because it’s simpler for Waste Management’s trucks to pick up uniform cans with attached lids.
Councilman Caleb Collier was opposed to all the alternatives because they are services not everyone will use.
“If I don’t use any of the options, I pay for someone else,” Collier said, adding that making people pay for a service they don’t use is an infringement on their civil liberties.
Councilman Ed Pace is a big supporter of residents’ ability to haul their own trash to transfer stations, an option he’s called as “American as mom and apple pie.”
However, Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard pointed out that things are piling up in some places.
“We have a nuisance property problem in the Valley,” Woodard said. “Some people just don’t haul stuff out of their yards.”
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