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Trash Talk at Monroe Council Meeting
Monday, December 05, 2011 2:44:57 PM - Monroe Ohio

by Kristina Mayes

Resolution No. 61-2011. A Resolution authorizing and directing the City Manager to enter into a contract with Forest Green as the lowest and/or best bidder for the collection and disposal of certain solid waste materials and curbside recycling program within the corporate limits of the City of Monroe.

Mr. Brock stated that the City of Monroe accepted bids for Residential trash services and recycling on November 11, 2011; Forest Green Waste Services was the bidder that submitted a bid. We did not receive a bid from Rumpke and Waste Management submitted a no bid.

John Peckskamp from Forest Green Waste Services thanked Council for the opportunity to bid on the contract. He stated they read the specs thoroughly and saw it advertised and reacted to it with what they would consider a very good bid at a very competitive price. He provided background about Forest Green stating they are located on State Route 128 near Ross, Ohio. He added they have been around since 1987 and currently service over 15,000 residential customers. They service the entire greater Cincinnati area. Currently they are surrounding the City of Monroe with customers they pick up on a weekly basis. He stated the territory is not new to them and they are very familiar with the City. He feels this would fit into their route schedules and their equipment. He noted the equipment that would service our account is all 2 years old, painted and presentable. He added they are part of a larger company and they service over 50,000 residential customers in Central Ohio, and 25 municipal contracts.

Mr. Kelley asked how many environmentally friendly vehicles they operate. He clarified vehicles that are powered by alternative fuel sources such as natural gas. Mr. Peckskamp replied currently none, all their fleet is powered by diesel. He introduced Wendell Shelton, Operations Manager for Forest Green. He confirmed they are all powered by diesel and are not SCR technology. He also confirmed they have no vehicles that meet 2010 emissions standards.

Mr. Kelley stated we have a good size of residents that have different sizes of recycling totes and trash totes. Mr. Peckskamp confirmed they would send 2 different trucks for the collection of trash and recycling materials. They encourage residents to recycle as much as they want.

Mr. Black asked where there landfill facility is located. Mr. Peckskamp confirmed the landfill is located in Kentucky about 15 miles south of the river. He added they also own a landfill in Perry County, Ohio that, if needed, could also be used; however, they have a good arrangement with Kentucky and it is less expensive to transport the waste.

Mr. Kelley noted there are several incentives the City currently collects from Butler County for recycling, and asked if their facility offered the same incentives. Mr. Peckskamp replied that he was not familiar with the incentives, but the bid specs we provided was detailed about the reports that are needed from the county and state and they will provide all of that. He stated the recycling will all be sent to Hamilton County.

Mr. Peckskamp replied to Mr. Kelley’s question about what larger company they are part of as Tunnel Hill Partners based out of Newark, Ohio. He added they were picked up in August of this year.

Mr. Peckskamp confirmed Mrs. Stillman’s question if they provide recycling. He stated the price was included in the bid.

Mrs. Hale asked if the City would be entitled to a reimbursement from some of the recycling. Mr. Peckskamp stated they could talk about it but there was nothing in the bid specs regarding that.

Mrs. Rubin stated she spoke to the Butler County Solid Waste District and if the trash goes to Kentucky they don’t get a cut of it like they normally would. So the County will lose around $9200.00 a year. Part of that money gets returned to us for the recycling that we do. She wasn’t sure what would happen with that if Monroe doesn’t put anything in the County’s waste management. She stated it may go through but they can’t do that forever not having the revenue and still paying us back. In response to Mrs. Rubin about what happens to the recycling, Mr. Peckskamp stated there is a facility in St. Bernard. And confirmed there would not be any sorting required by the residents. Mrs. Rubin asked if they are capable of pay to throw.
Mr. Peckskamp responded yes, they currently do that in other markets and would be happy to sit down to discuss it.

Mr. Peckskamp stated they did their best to comply with our bid specs we provided and that was the blueprint they used to provide the bid, but would be willing to sit down to discuss any possibilities.

Mr. Hickman asked what other areas in Butler County they service. Mr. Peckskamp said their residential surround this area in West Chester and others in this area. He stated they do not have a contract with a specific municipality. That they just do residential and commercial in this market.
Mrs. Rubin asked if they had any facilities to use for composting if that was done. Mr. Peckskamp responded yes, they have a landfill in Hamilton County, and they have a composting license for that. Mrs. Rubin asked if it became an issue for the trash to be taken to Kentucky, if they can use the Perry County landfill instead. Mr. Peckskamp stated they could look at that again and the dollar amount for that.

Mr. Kelley noted with his reservations he has, he would like to reject the bid, and include that language in the next bid specs that it is compliant with Butler County Waste so that there is no way they would lose it. If they approve the contract as written it’s a handshake with a company they know little about saying they will be happy to sit down, but if it’s part of the contract it’s not an issue.

Mr. Black asked when we have to have the bids closed and service started for next year. Mr. Brock replied the current contract with Rumpke expires at the end of January.

Mr. Hickman asked how much we were saving by going with Forest Green. Mr. Brock said the current contract rate is at $12.80.

Mrs. Stillman asked what items you do not pick up. Mr. Peckskamp stated they take furniture and bulk items.

Mr. Peckskamp stated in good faith they got their bid specs, saw the advertisement and answered them to the best of their ability, they feel as though they put together a very good bid. He said if you restrict the flow of trash to only one area then you restrict it to only those companies that have a landfill in that area. He said they’re here, they did their job, they think they should be awarded the contract. They are more than capable of handling the facility, they are a small business trying to grow like everyone else and understand competition is good for our citizens. They are saving us $1.90 a house times 4200. He said he hopes Council can stand in his shoes, they put out a very good price and now that price is public and if it goes back to bid they are in a difficult position, and asked they see the equity in that as well.

In response to Mrs. Stillman’s question, Mr. Callahan stated that Council has the ability if they chose to reject bids and order staff to rebid it. Or Council has the ability to accept the bid and adopt the Ordinance directing that a contract be entered with the lone bidder.
Mr. Kelley stated the bid specs included the language that the bid could be rejected for any reason.

Dean Ferrier with Rumpke addressed Council. He stated they have had a contract with us for 5 years and the current contract. He thanked council. He stated that Rumpke dropped the ball. 

Dean Ferrier with Rumpke addressed Council. He stated they have had a contract with us for 5 years and the current contract. He thanked council. He stated that Rumpke dropped the ball. He said the bid was out and advertised like it was suppose to be. They found out that evening that they missed that bid and apologized. He stated it was their job to know and they did not supply a bid by the deadline. He said they went through Forest Green’s bid and they were in compliance and did nothing wrong. He said they would humbly request another opportunity to rebid.

Mr. Kelley asked if they were on their way to submitting a bid, and Mr. Ferrer replied no. They didn’t prepare a bid. He said he met with Mr. Brock that following Monday morning and apologized. He said the only opportunity they would have, Council has only one bid in hand and it is a competitive rate, but competition to him is more than one bid in hand. He said Rumpke has been in business for 80 years and services 320 municipalities in Ohio, Southeast Indiana, and Northern Kentucky.

Mrs. Rubin stated she knows that Rumpke worked with us to create the recycling program they have with us with the totes and appreciates that. She said she has never heard anything bad from the citizens and it is always scary to go with something unknown. She said it is a one year contract and there is a fairness issue with the bid time. She stated that if the contract goes to Forest Green that Rumpke will bid again next time around.
Mr. Callahan clarified that if Council awarded it to the only bidder, they can bid it out again next year, or they would have the option of renewing that contract.

Mrs. Stillman asked Mr. Callahan if we accept this as a first reading but before the second reading is it possible with Forest Green’s cooperation with Mr. Brock to put in some amendments that Mr. Kelley is wanting. Mr. Callahan stated the City put out a bid spec saying this is what the City is wants you to bid on, that was the bid spec that Forest Green bid on, and those are the bid specs that you should award or not award the contract on. That doesn’t mean that once the contract is awarded that you can’t renegotiate the terms of the contract. But you should award the contract on the bid specs that you put out as opposed to and cautioned Council on negotiation terms before the contract has been awarded. After the bid is awarded if you want to change it or renegotiate the terms, you can do that. But at this point of time, my advice would be to either award the bid or reject the bid and direct staff to rebid it. We are at a time frame that we can have two readings and adopt it as a non-emergency Ordinance. The current contract with Rumpke ends in January so you could reject this and direct staff to rebid it and when you award the contract you will be doing it as an emergency.

Mrs. Stillman stated it was a very good point that it’s not fair to the company to reject this right now and ask for a new bid, because that is not how business works. But, it’s nice to know we have the option. If we award this to Forest Green the option not to renew it after one year but to rebid it at that point. It’s going to cost them more the first year, and I’m sure they won’t want to lose the business after that.

Mr. Kelley added we also have residents that are going to be involved too, that are already complaining about changing. They will have to change totes and services, and billing cycles because so of them are billed directly to them and all that will change. In my opinion, it was a mistake to have the bid deadline due on a day we were closed. Point two is the company we are about to award the contract to was taken over by a larger company in August. This company was failing until August when it was taken over. They have older equipment and may not be as reliable, the coat of paint may look nice but they don’t have the new technology or energy efficient equipment. They have a recycling center that is outside the state so there is a chance we may or may not lose recycling dollar credit.

Mrs. Rubin noted that the recycling is here, but the landfill Mrs. Rubin noted that the recycling is here, but the landfill is not. Mrs. Stillman added that she doubts Rumpke has a whole fleet of new trucks.

Mr. Kelley stated they have a large percentage that is later model trucks.

Mr. Black asked if the level of service we are use to having included in the bid specs. He added with Mr. Kelley’s concerns if anything was put in about energy efficiency. Mr. Brock replied that truck technology was not included in the bid specifications. Mr. Black asked about the location of the landfills, Mr. Brock replied no.

Wendell Shelton addressed Council; he stated he is the General Manager and the prior owner of Forest Green. He stated, he didn’t know where Mr. Kelley received his facts from but Forest Green was a very profitable company and that is why they were purchased. He added their equipment is in very good shape, and the recycling stays in Cincinnati. 

Wendell Shelton addressed Council; he stated he is the General Manager and the prior owner of Forest Green. He stated, he didn’t know where Mr. Kelley received his facts from but Forest Green was a very profitable company and that is why they were purchased. He added their equipment is in very good shape, and the recycling stays in Cincinnati. We would love to have your business; we are a small business here. We appreciate your comments and understand you do have the citizens to look out for. But it is apparent that someone fed you information and I have no idea where it was received but will be more than happy to show my tax returns of profitability for the last three years. He noted he was offended by the statement that he was a failing business. He added he has 15,000 customers throughout this community, and are proud of what we provide. He added he would appreciate the comments not be made without justification.

Mr. Kelley responded that the comments were received from an internet search of Forest Green where you find more negative comments than positive; a lot of the comments were furnished to us by residents asking me to take a look at this. So you have a publicity problem on the internet right now with people talking about the lack of community service, a lack of service to your customers, and some other issues.

Mr. Kelley responded that the comments were received from an internet search of Forest Green where you find more negative comments than positive; a lot of the comments were furnished to us by residents asking me to take a look at this. So you have a publicity problem on the internet right now with people talking about the lack of community service, a lack of service to your customers, and some other issues. He added that he doesn’t doubt Rumpke has its problems but he has residents concerns that he is trying to address.

Mr. Hickman asked Mr. Brock if the contract was awarded to Forest Green if the residents would see a decrease in the cost of trash service. Mr. Brock replied that is yet to be determined. The rates would need to be discussed by the finance committee. What they did the last time is look at the rates over the five year period, and set a rate that would be good for the five years. Whatever contract we get we will send that back and set the rates. In response to Mr. Hickman, Mr. Brock stated he didn’t see why the rates would go up.

Mr. Kelley moved to approve the first reading of Resolution No. 61-2011 and have it read by title only; seconded by Mrs. Rubin. Voice vote. Motion carried. 

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