Local News

Panel favors rejection of solid waste bids

SEBRING At least for the foreseeable future, city residents will see no change in garbage pickup. The city's sanitation department will continue picking up garbage. The City Council's Solid Waste Committee voted Friday 2-1 to recommend that the full City Council reject all bids and that garbage pickup be rebid. Previously, Council members Andrew Fells and John Clark voted to recommend that the council accept the bid from WCA Waste Corp. Council member John Griffin voted to reject all bids, questioning whether the bids met specifications.
This time, Fells and Clark favored rejecting the bids, but Griffin voted against the recommendation because he believes rebidding would benefit the other bidders besides WCA. City attorney Bob Swaine said at least technically it could be argued that all of the bids failed to meet bid specifications. Clark said he felt the bidders did not receive the necessary information to submit bids that would comply. There were also questions over whether the specifications were unclear. If the full council favors rebidding, Clark wants the subject to come back to the committee before new bids are sought. "I think it needs to come back to us again to see if we can screw this up again," he said, with a smile. Amy Hochberger, an attorney representing WCA, said she felt the company's bid met the specification and argued the city should accept it. But she said she also agreed with Griffin that if the city rejects all bids there shouldn't be a rebidding. The two issues with the bids were that some didn't meet the requirement of being no higher than the county rate. Griffin has also argued that the bid specifications required a flat amount franchise fee paid by the successful bidder, as opposed to a percentage of revenues. Some bidders included a percentage and some others included a percentage and a flat fee. If the city agrees to a percentage system, the city would either have to audit the company to make sure it was getting the right percentage or revenue or go by the "honor system," Griffin said.

jmeisel@highlandstoday.com (863) 386-5834