Citizens question contract for trash

PAGE ONE STORY CORRECTION

OCEANSIDE — In the following article headlined “Citizens question contract for trash,” it was erroneously stated that City Council had voted to approve an extension on the city’s contract with Waste Management.
The motion passed at the July 1 council meeting made no changes of any kind to the current contract and agreement with Waste Management, which continues until 2012, according to Colleen Foster, management analyst with Oceanside’s Solid Waste and Recycling Division. Rather, the motion directed city staff and the Integrated Waste Commission to further assess and explore city waste transfer issues, including whether Oceanside should build its own transfer station and recycling center, and what sort of waste transfer company would best service it.
The Coast News regrets the error.

OCEANSIDE — A heated discussion led up to a 3-2 council vote approving a one-year extension to the Waste Management trash-hauling contract with the city on July 1. Speakers questioned whether the approval was legal, as it bypassed public input and recommendations from Integrated Waste Commission, which works year-round to review city waste management issues.
“I’m very upset at being on this dais,” Mayor Jim Wood said. “This is unbelievable that the acts on the largest (city) contract circumvented public input. The rest of the waste providers can say they’ve been left out.”
Wood and Sanchez voted against adding a year to the present 12-year, multimillion-dollar contract with Waste Management, which still has two years left.
“There is a request for a continuance on this contract that doesn’t need continuing,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said.
Councilmen Jerry Kern, Jack Feller and Rocky Chavez supported extending the Waste Management contact an extra year.
The OK ensures Waste Management a minimum of three more years of service and gives the company an incentive to upgrade its trucks.
Waste Management has maintained a trash-hauling and waste-recycling contract with the city for more than 20 years, but trash removal is not the city’s only concern. Oceanside is also considering building a recycling center to recycle its own trash.
For a recycling center to be solvent, other cities will have to buy into having their trash recycled at the proposed center.
Feller stressed that the same company should haul and recycle trash. “This is the person we came to the dance with (Waste Management), at least give them the opportunity to show us what they’ve got,” Feller said.
Sanchez said discussion of who will build the proposed recycling center is premature, since the recycling center is presently in the idea phase. A recycling center has not been approved and there have not been calls for proposals from builders.
Chavez said the continued contract with Waste Management does not mean that the company will be selected to build and run the proposed recycling center.
“We are not giving Waste Management the contract for the recycling center,” Chavez said. “We need to figure who wants to be partners in this, build the center, and open it to competition.”
Sanchez asked why the Integrated Waste Commission, which is currently tasked with looking into the pros and cons of the city establishing a recycling center, was not asked for its input before there was a request to extend the contract with Waste Management. “The waste commission has been on the right track all along,” Sanchez said. “I don’t see why we sideswiped the commission.”

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