No contract reached for trash pick up

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Above are excerpts from “Wording from Parish of Natchitoches Addendum NO 3 To The Request for Proposals Contract NO. NPPW-2013-02” and “Wording from the existing Pick-Up Station Operating and Maintenance Agreement” provided by Veuleman

Existing contract expires New Years Eve

By Juanice Gray jgray@natchitochestimes.com

“If there is no contract on Dec. 31, they (Waste Connections) will pull up all their cans,” said Interim Director of Public Works Earl Townsend in reference to the pending expiration of the garbage pick up contract for the Parish. The Parish Council met Thursday, Dec. 6 to vote on a contract, however after lengthy discussion no contract was awarded.

Revelations was the tone of the meeting.

The first was the fact two contracts were being negotiated, one for hauling and disposal of waste and a second for operating the transfer station. Councilman Chris Paige was vocal about the lack of information provided to council members prior to the meeting concerning the contract negotiations. Parish President Rick Nowlin presented a letter of briefing to the council and guests outlining the proposals from Waste Connections and DeSoto Parish Police Jury(DPPJ)/Live Oak Environmental.

A committee consisting of Townsend, Parish Treasurer Debbie Miley, Purchasing Agent Lynda Vance and Assistant District Attorney Shantel Wempren unanimously recommended the contract go to Live Oak Environmental. The brief stated the cost to the Parish would result in an approximate $37,500 per year savings, or $188,000 over five years. The Live Oak proposal offered waste collection from all Parish sites and disposal in the DPPJ landfill in DeSoto Parish. The proposal did not include the transfer station because the trash will be taken directly to that landfill. The transfer station is in disrepair. Estimated costs for improvements and repairs is estimated at $300,000.

The Waste Connections proposal was basically an extension of the existing contract. Waste would be picked up and transferred to the compacting station before going to a landfill. improvements and repairs is estimated at $300,000. The Waste Connections proposal was basically an extension of the existing contract. Waste would be picked up and transferred to the compacting station before going to a landfill.

The second revelation was the fact waste from other parishes and governing bodies is, and has been for years, being processed at the Parish transfer station. “They serve more customers than Natchitoches Parish,” Nowlin said. He requested an amendment to the agenda to continue negotiations with Waste Connections to operate the transfer station at terms beneficial to both entities.

The council approved entering into a memorandum of understanding for Nowlin to negotiate on behalf of the council. The council will have final vote. Councilman Russell Rachal asked if Waste Connections was contracted to operate the transfer station, would independent contractors who go door to door collecting trash for a fee be allowed to use the station. The general consensus was that they could, but would have to utilize the main station and not the mini sites. Separate roll-off boxes would be available for their use as well as boxes for “white” waste such as water heaters and sinks. There would be no change to the limb pit operations.

Council members asked representatives of both Waste Connections and Live Oak Environmental whether jobs would be affected. James “Bugs” Veuleman, District Manager- Natchitoches Hauling, Waste Connections, said if they lost the pick up contract, three jobs would be eliminated. If they do not get a contract for the transfer station, three jobs would be eliminated. “If I don’t have the work, I can’t keep the people,” he said.

Roy Walters, representing Live Oak, said two additional employees would be hired if they got the hauling contract. Another revelation was the fact fees are not collected from outside entities, specifically Winn Parish, Red River Parish, Red River Waterway Commission and Northwestern State University for use of the transfer station.

Waste Connections has contracts with these, and possibly others, to pick up their waste and haul to the transfer station owned by the Parish. Waste Connections owns the scales at the site, but the Parish owns the station. Concerns were the additional waste run through the compactor station created additional wear and tear to the equipment, but the Parish was not being compensated. Veuleman said the additional tonnage actually aided the parish residents by keeping their haul prices lower. “The more trash generated, the cheaper the rate,” he said.

In addition, there was a discrepancy on the amount of rebate paid by the contractor to the Parish. “It’s always been $4,” Veuleman said. David H Kees Jr., Executive Assistant to the Parish President, explained to the council that Wendy Hudson from Waste Connections told him the rebate that Waste Connections was giving to the Parish for tonnage run through the compactor station was also subject to a consomer price index adjustment just like everything else in the contract.

Waste connections has been a major part of Natchitoches Parish Solid Waste Collection and Disposal since 2006. We hope to continue to be a big supporter of the community and the entire parish. ~James ‘Bugs’ Veuleman

“There appeared to be a discrepancy in a bill based off of the calculations of the rebate,” Kees said. Veuleman provided excerpts from his previous contracts and addendum to the Times to defend his position that pickup from outside the parish is allowed.

The council could not come to an agreement on awarding the contract to Live Oak based on lack of prior information and the issue was tabled. Rachal was the only nay vote to table. “I do not know what will be gained by putting if off,” Nowlin said Contracts for hauling and the transfer station will be up for vote at the next regular meeting Dec. 17.