Qs FROM CONSTITUENTS: BIN THERE, TRASH THAT
Updated: Oct 13
In this post, I explore the complexities Council factored into their decision when awarding Curbside Waste Pickup Request for Proposal (RFP) and why I supported the four recommendations made by Staff.
Tuck in. This is a complex issue, and; therefore a long post.
Our current curbside pick up provider cannot provide service after January 1, 2022 under any circumstances. To fulfill this very necessary service, the Request for Proposal (RFP) process--the process that determines who will be awarded the contract--was issued May 20, 2022. The RFP stopped excepting proponents on June 28, 2022.
NOTE: There has been criticism that the RFP should have been sent out months before May 2022. We must remember in the Spring of 2021, supply chains were in even more disarray then they are now, and Council decided to extend the contract.
As per Council's direction, the RFP asked for the same service level, meaning that curbside garbage would be picked up weekly and recycling collection would be picked up bi-weekly as it is now. (Late Summer of 2022)
Only two proponents bid on curbside garbage and recycling collection:
Waste Management (NO CHANGE IN SERVICE, but bins)
Mid Ontario Disposal (CHANGE IN SERVICE - both every other week and bags).
Provincial legislation says that Council is not allowed to participate in the RFP awarding process. (This is thanks to politicians throwing all the municipal work--and money--to their personal buddies.)
Okay, that isn't totally true because Council does set the "rules" as to how the proponents are scored and what metrics are used; when I was a teacher, we called this a Rubric. This "rubric" is used by Staff to score each proponent without political influence. Once Staff has "marked" all the entries, a report is produced that includes recommendations, background, operational considerations, how it relates to the Strategic Plan, financial impacts, as well as community comments.
These two proponents were specifically difficult to score because even though Grey Highlands asked for X (being the same service level), we got back A and B as Grey Highlands received two very different proposals. And, of course, Grey Highlands cannot control how the proponents "answer" the RFP just the same way I could not control the answers from my students.
In the Staff Report ENV.22.12-Award of RFP for Collection and Processing Blue Box Recycling and Municipal Solid Waste Program, staff suggested that Waste Management be awarded the contract for weekly curbside collection of waste and bi-weekly curbside collection of recycling.
When reading this report, and I think I can safely speak for every Councillor and say, we were all shocked by the financial impact because whomever we chose, Grey Highlands was looking at an increase of $600 thousand dollars to the $1 million operating budget. That is a lot of money to our municipality.
There were four Staff recommendations:
That Council award weekly curbside collection of waste and bi-weekly curbside collection of recycling to Waste Management of Canada Corporation or Waste Management (WM).
That Council award bin transfers from Artemesia Waste Diversion Site (WDS) and Osprey Waste Diversion Site (WDS) to Waste Management of Canada Corporation.
That Council award depot recycling hauling and processing to Waste Management of Canada Corporation; and That Council approve diverting all curbside waste material to an external landfill.
That Council defer consideration of awarding curbside leaf and yard waste collection as per RFP-F18-2022-05 to Waste Management for the amount of $175 per hour until a report with further information is brought forward during the 2023 budget cycle.
Staff suggested Waste Management because:
It maintains current collection frequencies (service level).
Waste Management submitted the lowest cost proposal for all services, with the exception of Recycling Lifts. In fact, Waste Management's cost submission was $250,000 less than the other submission.
In Case it wasn't Complicated Enough
We needed to make the decision NOW because there is a municipal election October 24, and even though that seems world's away, Friday August 19, 2022 was nomination day and on August 20 Council was a "lame duck" and could not make a decision on a contract of this value; it would default to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) as per The Delegation of Authority By-Law.
So, basically we had a Special Meeting to make the decision.
The good news is that every Councillor read the report and every Councillor attended (either in person or virtually) attended the Information Sessions.
DID YOU KNOW? Only the Mayor can call a Special Meeting.
To simplify things, there were three choices before Council for residential waste and recycle pick up.
1 Award the waste (weekly) and recycle (bi-weekly) pick up contract to Waste Management.
Waste Management scored the highest of the two proponents.
Requires an $600K increase to Operating Costs. (The main source of funding for the additional $600K is an increase in the tax rate.)
Requires a “bin system”: one bin for waste and one bin for recyclables. (See concerns below.)
This proponent won the Technical Component, which includes the Environmental and Business Resilience components, as well as the Financial components of the RFP.
Uses renewable natural gas fleet. Get more information on my post, Qs from Constituents: On Waste Management .and at https://www.wm.com/ca/en/inside-wm/sustainable-technology/smart-fleet
2 Award the waste and recycle (both bi-weekly) pick up contract to MidWestern.
Requires a $830K increase to Operating Costs.
Did not win any component of the RFP.
Uses diesel fuel.
3 No garbage pick up after Jan 1, 2022
Are you still reading? ;-) Thank you!
Here is some more background on this complicated issue:
In general, the driver and passenger do not leave the garbage trucks. The carts are picked up by the truck and dumped. All while the two individuals inside watch cameras (or have the cameras to review later). This allows staff to watch for items like hazardous waste.
No matter who takes over the contract, private roads and commercial are evaluated individually. The goal is if you received garbage before Jan 1, you receive it after. I have written two blogs on this at https://www.daniellevaliquette.ca/post/qs-from-constituents-on-private-roads and https://www.daniellevaliquette.ca/post/qs-from-constituents-lake-private-road-grants
DID YOU KNOW? As Doug Wilton, owner of Wilton Sanitation put it, “The days of men slinging garbage at the back of garbage trucks are a thing of the past.” Why? Because of staffing concerns (people do not want this job) and insurance (no one wants to insure someone driving, parking, getting out, throwing garbage and getting back in a truck).
Diverting from Landfill
I once heard someone smarter than me say, that the Provincial Government has not approved any new landfills since 1996; they just are not being granted. And, that is not a bad thing as it is forcing towns and cities to rethink what goes into them, and more importantly what does not go into municipally owned landfills.
In the End
Council made this decision at a Special Meeting on August 19, and all four recommendations were accepted with the exception that garbage pick up was moved to every other week as a cost savings measure.
County of Simcoe
If you want to learn more about the cart system, check out the County of Simcoe's educational information on setting out carts, living with carts, and cart FAQs. Just remember that these are different sizes and Grey Highlands only does garbage and recycle and not organics.
See all the questions I have been asked throughout the 2022 Campaign!