Wellington Inks New Contract With Waste Management

The Wellington Village Council approved a new five-year contract Tuesday for solid waste removal services with Waste Management.

Waste Management, the village’s current solid waste vendor, was the staff selection committee’s favored bidder of five that responded.

Business Services Manager Ed De La Vega said the current contract with Waste Management will expire this September. A request for proposals was issued in February, and five were received by the March deadline. Four out of five selection committee members ranked Waste Management first, and the other member had Waste Management tied for first with FCC SA.

De La Vega said that the new Waste Management contract proposed $64,000 per year less than its current contract. In addition to the $64,000, there is a potential $60,000 savings in collection carts that are currently purchased by the village but are now part of all the bids.

He added that commercial accounts will no longer have to pay a monthly container fee. “We see a savings on the residential side and a savings on the commercial side,” De La Vega said.

“I think that’s perfect,” Councilwoman Anne Gerwig said. “I think that’s exactly what we were hoping to hear.”

Councilman Matt Willhite, however, did not support the new contract because he thought there was a potential for bigger savings with bidder FCC SA, a European-based company that bid about $450,000 a year less than Waste Management, although it has not provided services locally.

“I look at the numbers over the lifetime of this contract, and it will potentially save over $2.3 million just by taking a chance,” Willhite said. “This is the parent organization of a worldwide business that’s a billion-dollar company.”

Gerwig said that she did not want to go with a company that is not currently operating in Florida.

“I respect the difficult job of the selection committee,” she said. “They analyzed all of these companies. They thought about what you just said. A lot of times when we see an anomaly in a bid like that, it means they didn’t understand something about the project.”

Gerwig said she had seen the council take other low bids and it wound up costing more in the long run. “I think it’s too risky,” she said. “I understand your concern with seeing that kind of savings on the table and passing it by, but in this situation, I think they probably would not be able to provide the seamless level of service. I think what we charged our selection committee with was analyzing those companies and giving us their best advice, and I’m not willing to depart from that for right now.”

Councilman John McGovern said he would also rather rely on the experience of the selection committee and accept its recommendation.

“We view value and quality as best price for a guarantee in the level of service that our residents expect,” McGovern said, reiterating that Waste Management had offered savings of $323,000 for residential and not having to pay for carts, and a savings of $190,000 over the life of the contract for commercial pickup by not having to pay rent for collection bins.

“That is a substantial, significant savings,” he said. “It’s what every one of us wanted. We asked for as many bidders as possible. We wanted people’s best foot forward, and I think we got that. I think we should rely on our selection committee, and I think we should approve Waste Management.”

Vice Mayor John Greene said that there was a potential risk in going out for new bids.

“There’s no doubt that the standards of this village and our residents are high,” Greene said. “I don’t think there were any complaints about the level of service that Waste Management provided.”

He said the council could have extended the existing contract for seven years, but he felt a total of 14 years without a bid process was not in the best interest of Wellington residents.

“I think the results tonight represent what the free market does, and when you’ve got competition… it’s going to force everybody who’s got an interest in competing to be aggressive in their prices,” Greene said. “We’re going to save the residents of the Village of Wellington $518,000 over the course of this contract if the decision is made to continue that relationship with Waste Management.”

He also pointed out that Waste Management is heavily involved in community affairs, including free pickup after community events and thousands of dollars in contributions to local organizations.

Mayor Bob Margolis said that, based on the recommendation of the selection committee, he would only support Waste Management.

Greene made a motion to award the contract to Waste Management, which carried 4-1 with Willhite opposed.