LUMBERTON — The City Council decided Wednesday that Waste Management will continue to provide solid waste, bulk good and yard debris collection to Lumberton residents, while also adding curbside recycling.
Four proposals were considered at Wednesday’s council policy committee meeting — two from Waste Management of Fayetteville that include an option for new trash receptacles or existing receptacles, one from Pembroke Waste Collections of Pembroke, and one from Waste Industries of Fayetteville.
The current contract with Waste Management, which has been the target of several heated discussions spearheaded by Councilmen Leon Maynor and Erich Hackney, expires in March.
Currently the city pays $16.82 per household for solid waste and yard waste collection. The rates discussed on Wednesday ranged from $14.30 to $15.03 for the two existing services with Waste Industries and Pembroke Waste Collection, both coming in lower than the bids from Waste Management.
But Waste Management placed the lowest bid on curbside recycling, a service which the board has battled over, at $1.43 per home. Pembroke Waste Collection came in just slightly higher at $1.50 and Waste Industries bid the service at $3.16.
With curbside recycling added to the existing services, the total bid per household are as follows: Waste Management bid $16.46 with new receptacles and $15.91 with existing ones; Pembroke Waste Management bid $15.85; and Waste Industries came in at $17.46.
“We had very competitive pricing,” said Rob Armstrong, the Public Works director. “But I also weighed the companies ability to render those services.”
Armstrong built a chart that used a 10-point scale to rank the companies on their equipment resources, experience in collection and composting, financial competency, corporate standing and evidence of insurance and bonds. Waste Management emerged as a clear leader, according to Armstrong.
“Their experience cannot be contested,” Armstrong told the board.
Maynor said that because of the volume of complaints he had received regarding Waste Management, he could not believe that the company was the most competent.
Armstrong said after the meeting that when looking at complaints from city residents vs. the entire costumer base, the complaints were minimal.
Councilman John Cantey pointed out that Waste Management has donated some services during events like Rumba on the Lumber.
In its proposal, the company said it would provide a $15,000 donation per year for five years to recreation projects.
Armstrong reminded the council that the solid waste contract will include safeguards, which were discussed at a meeting in December, from some the prior complaints regarding Waste Management. These include a number that residents can call to speak with a local representative and a 24-hour response time.
“I think things have tremendously improved with respect to Waste Management,” Hackney said.
The council voted to accept Waste Management’s option with the exiting trash cans and curbside recycling at a price of $15.91 per household. Maynor voted against.
With a residential recycling option available, Armstrong said the city’s recycling drop-off centers would be closed.
While the new contract will save the city nearly $1 per household, City Manager Wayne Horne said it was too early to speculate if that savings would be passed on to residents, who pay $19.86 currently.
Armstrong said expenditures outweigh revenues in the city’s sanitation fund and by keeping residents’ charges as they are the shortfall could be reduced.
Horne said residents will not see any change in fees until the city begins its budget discussions in June.
In other business, the council:
— Approved a capital project ordinance, which is required to establish funding, for the construction of the new police station. The city was recently approved for $3 million interim financing from BB&T.
— Approved a budget amendment to the Powell Bill fund because it received $15,540 less than originally budgeted. The new Powell Bill fund budget includes $632,880 in revenues and $449,040 in expenditures.
— Renewed a two-year technical maintenance contract with Progressive Engineering Consultants, which is used on an as-needed basis.
— Approved a $355,937 contract with AT&T for an emergency 911 controller, which is the device that receives calls to the city’s 911 center. Legal review of the contract is still pending.
— Approved the Planning and Public Works departments’ grant application to the Federal Highway Administration for the enhancement of the Carthage Road corridor as an entryway from Interstate 95. The first phase of the project is projected to cost $695,000 — $556,000 of which will be paid for by the grant and $139,000 to be paid by the city.
— Approved the purchase of a $10,995 copier and scanner from Sandhills Office Systems for the Planning, Public Works and Electric Utilities departments.
— Set a public hearing for Monday night’s council meeting to inform residents about the newest Community Development Block Grant program.
— Tabled a decision until Monday night to enter into a contract with the Robeson County Community Development Corporation for credit counseling services.
— Referred to the Planning Board a conditional-use permit request from Donald Lee Thompson, who wants to operate a pool hall and game center at 219 E. Third St.
— Approved a $6,190.46 purchase of two transnet radio relays, surge protectors and other components for monitoring the sewage plant.
— Approved the final contract with Barnes Paving for the Dec. 22 completion of a city-wide paving project in the amount of $2.78 million.
— Approved the rules and regulations for city-owned cemeteries.
— Approved a $4,069 grant from the Lumber River Area Agency on Aging from the Pine Street Senior Center. A local match of 25 percent is required.
— Approved December tax releases in the amount of $2,757.84.
— Designated $150 of Councilman John Robinson’s community revitalization money for a handicap ramp at 2210 Musselwhite Drive.
— Reach staff writer Ali Rockett at 910-272-6127 or firstname.lastname@example.org.