New trash proposal would save over $1 million
While some council members want to hold a committee meeting to discuss the proposal, others say the parish should stick with their current provider because of their service record.
The parish has a contract with IESI, who recently purchased Coastal Waste. Though the contract does not expire until Feb. 28, it includes an option for a five-year extension.
IESI is offering to drop its monthly bill for residential pickup from $11.99 per month to $11.29 per month if the parish decides to renew the contract. If the council agrees, the parish would have to pick up bulky waste using their own boom trucks.
Currently, that service is included in IESI's $11.99 per-month charge.
Gus Bordelon, the area marketing and governmental affairs manager for IESI, said that the parish will save around $75,000 a year by disposing of their own waste.
"Currently, we dispose of the waste in River Birch, which charges the parish $32.43 a ton," he said. "Last year we picked up 2,304 tons of bulky waste, which cost the parish nearly $75,000.
"The parish gets to dispose of their own bulky waste at the Killona landfill for free."
But after IESI sent in their proposal, SDT sent in one of their own. The company is willing to offer twice-a-week service to St. Charles Parish residents for $10.29 per month. SDT president Sidney Torres said that he will lock in that rate for the entire five years of the contract.
The proposals from IESI and SDT both include giving every resident and small business a new garbage cart, and both would require the parish to pick up bulky waste.
Councilman Paul Hogan says that the council needs to call a committee meeting to discuss the new proposals. Because the garbage contract is considered a professional service, it does not have to be awarded based on price.
"The bottom line is that this is not something that is urgent and we have the time to study the proposals that we have received," he said. "We need to take that time and make sure we are fiscally responsible."
Council members Terry Authement and Carolyn Schexnaydre also believe that a committee meeting is warranted.
“There is no reason we shouldn’t have a meeting to see what’s out there,” Schexnaydre said. “We need to check into other prices and look around so that we can save this parish money.”
One of the main differences in the two proposals, besides the price, is that IESI will charge the parish a fuel surcharge.
Bordelon said that if the cost of diesel increases to more than $3, IESI will charge an additional .12 cents per household. That would bring the total monthly cost to $11.41.
"But if the cost of diesel stays below that, there will not be a .12 cent charge," he said.
Though there are price discrepancies, Councilman Larry Cochran doesn’t believe a committee meeting is needed. And as chairman of the parish’s contracts committee, it’s Cochran’s decision whether or not to call one.
“We all know that SDT is offering a lower price,” he said. “So we might as well put IESI’s contract renewal on the agenda and vote on it.
“Every single one of us has a vote, and if the renewal fails, then we would have a lot to discuss in a committee meeting.”
Cochran said that while SDT’s proposal is cheaper, IESI has provided the parish with excellent service.
“If we had a company that provided terrible service, everyone would want to pay an extra dollar to get better service,” he said. “SDT is one dollar per month cheaper than IESI, but we know that (IESI) has great service.”
Other council members, including Shelley Tastet, agree.
“We don’t have the controversy and problems that other parishes have with their garbage situation,” he said. “IESI has provided us with great service and I know the people of my district are pleased with it.”
But Torres said that extending IESI's contract without putting it out to bid will be a disservice to the taxpayers of St. Charles.
"We're not saying to just give the contract to us, but to put it out to bid because it's the fair thing to the taxpayers," he said. "The price has already dropped…just imagine how much it will fall if it's put out to bid."
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