City OKs 5-year pact with new trash hauler amid controversy
A new five-year contract for trash and recycling in residential areas was awarded this morning during the city council’s appraisal and contract meeting.
However, the move could open the city up for possible legal action.
On the agenda of the meeting, Resolution 36 authorized the City of Rome to enter into a five-year contract from April 1 of this year to March 31, 2025 with Controlled Waste Systems, Inc. of Utica for a US $ 5,529,400 removal contract Collection of municipal solid waste and recyclable material in around 7,400 apartments.
However, this contract came about after some maneuvering through two bidding rounds.
In January, the city’s inner-city trash removal service offering reopened for a second round as the city scraped the first round, which only brought in an offer from Bliss Environmental Services in Camden, said Butch Conover, city public works commissioner.
It is controversial that the current five-year contract is being wound up by Bliss, who, through Kevin Barone (an attorney for the Syracuse-based law firm Barclay Damon, LLP), claims that there were renegotiation talks between Bliss and the city at the end of the contract.
During a public portion of Thursday’s Appraisals and Contracts Committee meeting, Barone urged the board to submit the resolution to CWSI’s approval for further discussion. But this submission ultimately did not take place.
“I understand that (first bid in December) was considered high by the city,” said Barone. However, he noted that the offer had been opened publicly, which paved the way for other bidders to undercut it in the second round.
For Barone, one of the problems is how the first round of bidding – in which Bliss bid around $ 7 million – was handled. “My customers’ offer was never turned down, which shielded the price,” he added.
Four bids were made in the second round, including Bliss, who made another bid for $ 5,760,662, Barone said.
During the price vote on Thursday, the motion with the President of the Joint Council, Stephanie Viscelli, voted “No”. Viscelli, also a lawyer, said she wanted more information. Corporation attorney Gerard Feeney said the current contract was for renewals. “We looked at the (first) offer … it was not advertised for the broadest possible network.”
“I’m fine,” Feeney said that the city followed established bidding practices and felt they might get a lower bid.
After the meeting, Barone said he and his client would discuss possible litigation with the city. Feeney declined to comment further.