Council considers proposals to outsource garbage and trash collection

With only a few short years left in the life of the City of Cairo landfill, the mayor and council are once again considering privatizing solid waste collection and on Monday night heard from two vendors interested in serving the city.
Chris Taylor of Taylor Waste Service Inc. of Cairo and David Dent of Advanced Disposal of Albany appeared before the city council this week to discuss their respective proposals to outsource the city’s solid waste collection.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton projects the city can outsource the collection of both garbage and trash for approximately $300,000 less annually than it costs the city to operate the service. Addleton’s analysis was based on the low bids from Advanced and Taylor Waste.
Taylor Waste’s proposal is for $91,595.75 per month compared to Advanced Disposal, which is proposing a fee of $94,377.48 per month.
As part of the deal, the city is requiring the provider to purchase the city’s solid waste vehicles, roll-out containers and commercial dumpsters. Advanced is offering to pay the city $10,000 more for the trucks than Taylor, $510,000 compared to $500,000, but Taylor is offering to pay $103,350 for the city’s containers while Advanced only offered $76,850.
The city also received proposals from the City of Thomasville ($123,555.45 per month) and Waste Pro ($108,190.50 per month). Both of these vendors offered significantly less for the city’s vehicles and equipment.
Councilman Jerry Cox said he had many questions he needed answered before he could make a decision.
One question Cox raised was, what happens when the city’s landfill closes? Under the city’s requirements, the vendor would have to use the local landfill as long as it was open and operational.
David Dent of Advanced said that his firm owns and operates numerous landfills and transfer stations. The nearest Advanced owned landfill is in Valdosta Dent said and he suggested it would likely be most cost effective for the city to establish a transfer station here once the city’s landfill closed.
Dent suggested his firm would build the station and fund it. “We’ve done it in multiple municipalities,” Dent said.
Dent said that the city is currently providing a greater level of service for trash pick up than is called for in the code of ordinances, but he said if his firm was selected as the provider they would ignore the existing ordinance and provide the same service city residents currently enjoy.
Dent also said that the cost of closing a landfill is high and that it is difficult process, but he and his company would be able to assist the city with the transition.
In addition, Dent said that spare vehicles and equipment would be located here and that the company would maintain a local office with local phone number for residents to make contact with them.
Dent also said that any current solid waste employee of the city who met Advanced’s qualifications could be hired.
Chris Taylor said his company was not as large as Advanced and he acknowledged he does not own any landfill, but he said he would assist the city in negotiating landfill tipping fees at landfills in Decatur or Thomas counties when the city landfill eventually closed.
Taylor also said he had discussed ideas with the city manager that could possibly extend the life of the city land fill.
The local business owner also pledged to hire all of the displaced city workers.
Taylor reminded city officials that he owned property here for the last 22 years and paid local taxes. He too said he had made arrangements to construct an office here for the benefit of city residents.
Addleton said that no one would lose their job even if not hired by a private contractor. The city manager said employees would be transferred to fill vacancies in other departments.
City officials also got into a discussion with Taylor and Dent concerning caps on the annual expense of outsourcing the service.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas, who chairs the council’s finance committee, suggested a performance bond may be required. City officials are concerned that once the city pulls the plug on the service and outsources it it would be extremely expensive to get back into the business.
“Nobody here knows what tomorrow holds. A performance bond or letter of credit may be needed to be included in the contract,” Douglas suggested.
Councilman Cox urged the council to take its time in making a final decision. “Once we’re out, we’re out,” he said.
Although Addleton’s preference would be a clean break and shift to outsourcing on July 1, he admitted that was unlikely. The city manager is suggesting the city budget to maintain operations under the status quo and once a final decision on outsourcing garbage and trash collection is made, the budget could be amended.
Both Taylor and Dent thanked the council for the opportunity to meet with them and to present their proposals.
City Manager Addleton said Tuesday he was comfortable that either firm could handle the city’s needs and both would do “a good job.”

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