(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 1:28 PM
SULPHUR — Sulphur will issue a request for proposals for waste pickup in the city despite the objections of current contract holder Allied Waste.
Allied’s five-year contract expires this summer. The contract will automatically be renewed at the current rate of $16.81 per household if the city takes no action by Feb. 28, six months before expiration of the original contract with Allied.
An amendment proposed by councilman Mike Koonce proposed that the city negotiate with Allied while also requesting proposals in case a new agreement with Allied could not be reached. That proposal failed when the vote was tied 2-2, with Koonce and Dru Ellender voting in favor of the amendment while Stuart Moss and Randy Favre opposed.
Favre said requesting proposals would be more likely to get Allied’s best offer.
“If we go out for request for proposals, you are going to give me your best bid you can,” Favre said. “If we negotiate, you are going to give me the best deal that we can work out, so what’s the difference? What is the difference in trying to make the deal? Realistically, if it’s RFP (request for proposal), if we all think about this, you are going to have to give me the better deal.”
Allied representative Bobby Guidry had requested that the city hold negotiations with the company before sending out the request for proposals, citing past instances of the city having to pay higher rates after going out for bids.
“This is not a guess, this is not an assumption, this is actually what happened,” Guidry said. “In 2009, the city and Allied Waste had the opportunity to renew the contract for five years. The city chose not to renew it at the (then) current rate. The city chose to go out for bid. Our price went up. That’s a fact. The competitors prices were bid higher than us.
“Five years prior to that, same thing. The city and Allied Waste had an opportunity to extend the contract at that time, for that rate. We went out for bid, the price went up. Our price went up, we kept the business, the competitors prices were higher than ours. I’m just telling you that based on history, what has actually happened, and people can say what the want to say, what has actually happened is the opposite of what you think is going to happen coming up. No one knows what is going to happen at this next bid. I don’t know. I can’t stand here and tell you that our prices are going to go up or go down. I can’t tell you. You have an opportunity to go into negotiations and say ‘Come off this $16.81 price or come up with a pilot program or some type of recycling program or some type of value-added services.’ If you want to work with us on that, we will continue to do business with you.
“We think we have been a good partner with the city for the past five years, we want to continue doing work. Why is it so important that you give an opportunity to an unknown to come in here and do business with you when you have people here in town that are doing business with you that want to continue? We have proven ourselves twice. We have offered an opportunity to extend the contract before. Both times, the city has lost out.”