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SWAC members dispute Greenstar deal

Friday, January 15, 2010 by Mark Richardson

Two members of the city’s Solid Waste Advisory Commission want to put the brakes on a plan to get a renegotiated recycling contract with Greenstar back in front of the City Council by Jan. 28.


Council members authorized city staff on Dec. 18 to renegotiate the contract with the city’s recycling materials hauler in order to mitigate its cost in what has been roundly criticized as a bad deal for the city. However, SWAC members J.D. Porter and Maydelle Fason believe staff in the Solid Waste Services Department is moving a little too fast in getting the contact approved. They also argued against a special called SWAC meeting to review the contract before the Council meeting.


Porter, who staunchly opposed renegotiating the pact when it came before SWAC in November, said the Council should wait until new Solid Waste Services Director Robert Gedert starts on Feb. 1 and proposals for the city’s materials recycling facility (MRF) are in on Feb. 9.


“We need to wait and see what comes in with the RFPs for the MRF,” Porter said. “We may not even need to deal with these contracts if there is a chance that we might have facilities here by the time the current contract runs out in September (of 2010).”


Under the terms that staff were sent out to negotiate, the contract with Greenstar would not expire until September 2011, with two six-month extensions optional. Under the terms approved by Council, the city could cut its recycled materials going to Greenstar in half starting in March 2011 to accommodate the startup of a local MRF.


“I do not feel comfortable with an artificial, early deadline,” Fason said. “January 28 is so close to when the new director is going to be here. I don’t see why there’s a push to get this in front of Council before he has a chance to get a look at it and give his input.”


Porter added that two local private companies plan to have MRFs up and running by later this year, giving the city a local option for taking its recycling for sorting and sale.


Co-chair Rick Cofer reminded the commission that a meeting would be needed to express their opposition to Council’s approving the contract on Jan. 28, but Porter and Fason would hear none of it. They both argued against a special meeting, insisting that the Council vote should be postponed,


Cofer encouraged commission members to take the matter up individually with the Council member who appointed them.


A motion to consider holding a meeting on Jan. 26 died for lack of a second, and the commission placed the item on the agenda for its regular meeting on Feb. 10.

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