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City Considering Amending Municipal Code to Extend Garbage Contract

Would give Petaluma Refuse & Recycling exclusive contract for next 15 years

The city is considering amending its municipal code in order to allow a local garbage company to extend its contract instead of going out to bid and in exchange receive a food waste composing program and potential discounts for disposal at the local landfill.

The issue will be discussed at Monday’s City Council meeting, which starts at 7pm.

Petaluma Refuse & Recycling now hauls the city’s garbage and has until 2016 before the contract runs out. But according to the city charter, the guiding document for city administration, a competitive bidding process is needed to award an exclusive garbage contract to any company, something that cannot happen more than a year before the contact expires.

To sign the new waste agreement, the city would have to first terminate its existing exclusive franchise agreement and sign a new contract for 15 years without going out to bid. For more details, click here.

Another issue to be taken up on Monday is a resolution to support a bill to extend the boundary of two marine sanctuaries into Sonoma County in order to prevent oil drilling.

Authored by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, HR 192 aims to expand the boundaries of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine sanctuaries into Sonoma County and the southern Mendocino coast. The region is one of the most biologically productive, producing 20 percent of the word’s fish, according to the resolution.

In addition, the coastal estuaries are important passages for endangered salmon and steelhead, essential haul outs for seals and sea lions and nurseries for hundreds of aquatic species. The bill, introduced this January, would maintain commercial and sport fishing enterprises and protect existing oyster operations and native fisheries.

Other items include reinstating the Chief Building Official position at City Hall, phased out in 2008 due to budget cuts. But now the city says it has money for the position because of higher revenues in the Building Department. The job is responsible for overseeing code enforcement, building permits and fees and the overall administration of the building department.

The meeting starts at 7pm Monday at City Hall. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that council would vote on whether to amend the city charter in order to allow Petaluma Refuse & Recycling an exclusive contract. The charter can only be amended by the vote of the people. Petaluma Patch regrets the error. 

LongTimeLocal November 07, 2011 at 07:18 PM
Now then, if I recall, Empire Waste originally did our waste, then the city awarded the contract elsewhere in a snit over a labor dispute, long resolved, and increased our rates by 50%. The new company, realizing they weren't making any money because of all their promises to recycle the world, then bailed, gratis, without any compensation to Petaluma, and left the contract with 'Petaluma Refuse and Recyling', who are really 'NorthBay Corp' but with a snazzy local sounding name. So the only piece now is the increase that will be imposed without bid for a couple of trivial items. Yep folks, that's the city at work for our benefit once again...
Bryant Moynihan November 08, 2011 at 03:54 PM
The council is colluding with a sole bidder and violating the city charter in order to increase franchise fees to the city instead of lowering the rates to the ratepayers. Empire Waste had offered to LOWER the rates by 40% prior to the council starting their 3 year RFP process which Increased the rates by 30%. I like the service provided, but it is costing the ratepayers twice as much as it should. And now the Ethically challenged City Council wants to exploit the ratepayers further.
Concerned Citizen November 08, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Humm...The city is going through an awful lot of trouble to protect the interests of the current garbage contractor; Changing the city charter, eliminating the bid process for a protracted time-frame, and ultimately eliminating ANY chance that competition would lower rates in our future. I'd love to see the notes that were captured at the meeting(s) that concocted this new plan, and the rationale behind it. Is there ANY other Private company in the county that is protected contractually, to the degree that the city is proposing for our garbage service?
DrArt HenSchen November 15, 2011 at 05:26 PM
In today’s economy elected officials have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer to balance budgets, cut wasteful spending and continue to provide services with an eye towards the future. There is NO EXCUSE for entering into a franchise or contract for more then 3-5 years. Technology changes, demand changes, circumstances change at such a dramatic rate that competitive bids are essential to equity. In today’s market the private entrepreneur faced with competitive bids comes to the table armed with a mighty sharp pencil and a great deal of creativity which can only beneift the taxpayer. Any agreement that extends beyond 3-5 years tends to breed complacency and open the door for untoward relationships to develop. Not only is MONEY left on the table, but as history has shown, apparently integrity. by Dr. Art HenSchen

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