Clock ticking to secure a city waste-hauling contract

OCEANSIDE — A unanimous vote by City Council on May 5 put the gears in motion to start negotiations with Waste Management for a long-term waste-hauling contract. Council voted to start exclusive negotiations with Waste Management, use waste and recycling negotiators Sloan Vazquez, and bring a contract agreement back to council to vote on within 90 days.
The vote pushes negotiations forward without having to go through the time-consuming process of asking for requests for proposals to find a city negotiator.
Time is of the essence with the present contract with Waste Management nearing its end and time closing in on the two-year deadline to let the company know if its services are no longer needed.
Negotiations will start seven days from the May 5 council vote to allow any recommendations from the Integrated Waste Management subcommittee to be passed on to the city manager and negotiators.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez, the city liaison to the Integrated Waste Management Commission, said she will speak individually to each subcommittee member to get his or her final prioritized list of recommendations.
A few items that are likely to be on the list of recommendations are single stream recycling, maintaining low rates, a pay-as-you-throw plan, revenue sharing from recycling, and payment of franchise fees, Sanchez said.
City Manger Peter Weiss said the list of recommendations will be passed on to city negotiators who will determine what is feasible to ask for and how long the contract needs to be extended to meet service requests. For example, if requested services call for new trucks the agreement may need to be extended longer for Waste Management to make good on an investment in new vehicles.
One needed update Weiss sees coming is the PODS system of collecting bulk trash in PODS and depositing full PODS at a dump station. This system of collection and deposit is obsolete and other methods of collection and disposal need to be determined, Weiss said.
Negotiators will help the city determine what updates are needed in a long-term contract agreement, Weiss said.
Waste Management is optimistic about negotiations. “We are two willing parties,” Ken Ryan, Waste Management district manager, said. “The city of Oceanside and Waste Management have had a successful partnership for a long time.”
The city is also positive that a fair deal can be reached within 90 days and be brought back to council. “Waste Management has been a good neighbor,” Mayor Jim Wood said. “But their job is business, and my job and the council’s job is to get the best deal for you we think is possible.”

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