Things could get a little messy around Guadalupe County and could remain that way for a minimum of about a month as officials voted to close the county’s three trash collection sites.
Unable to agree on terms of a renewed contract, Guadalupe County Commissioners Court voted to stop paying Republic Services for operation of the collection stations and ask for new bids for the services. It could take the county at least four weeks to select a new provider and re-open the stations, if that is the direction ultimately chosen, county Purchasing Agent Jeff Coleman said.
The next step is his office hammering out terms of the request for proposals, getting those terms approved by the court and then asking for bids, he said.
“We’ll have to look hard at everything we have in there, what is it we need a new contractor to do and give us prices on,” Coleman said Wednesday.
Commissioners Court at its regular meeting Tuesday morning discussed what to do about the collection stations. The county’s contract with Republic ran out at the end of June and the company was providing services without a contract all of July.
County officials sought bids for a new contract ahead of the June expiration of Republic’s deal. Republic was the only company to answer the request for proposal.
Republic and Guadalupe County officials tried to come to terms on a deal palatable to both sides, Coleman said. The company offered up three different proposals in its bid.
In Proposal A of the bid, the county’s annual rate of $119,880 would be increased to $214,500 and the fees citizens pay would increase by the higher between 3% and the Consumer Price Index, Coleman said.
Increases in Proposal B of the bid would see the county’s rate increase to $264,540 per year and citizens’ fees increased again by the greater between 3% and the Consumer Price Index.
The company’s third proposal, Proposal C, asked for the county’s rate to increase to $221,520 annually and for citizens’ fees to experience an 8% increase each year of a five-year deal, Coleman said.
Commissioners were reluctant to approve any of the proposals.
Two of the collection stations sit in his district, Precinct No. 1 Commissioner Greg Seidenberger said. He moved for a vote on Proposal A, which failed by a 1-4 margin with Seidenberger casting the only affirmative vote.
The other station sits in Precinct 4, which Precinct No. 4 Commissioner Judy Cope said her household uses to discard trash. Cope moved to reject Republic’s bid and ask for more bids from other companies. That motion passed 4-1 with Seidenberger casting the only dissenting vote.
Republic was set Wednesday to stop operations at the three facilities.
Commissioners Court directed county employees to alert the community via the county’s website.
A posting on the site provided a notice of closure of the collection stations, which are located in Kingsbury, Seguin and Marion. It provided alternatives for people who use the stations.
“You may take ‘approved’ items to the Mesquite Landfill in Guadalupe County, located at 1700 Kohlenberg Lane, New Braunfels, TX 78130. Phone: 830-625-7894,” the posting read.
It also suggested county residents contract with and pay for waste companies able to dispose of the refuse. The county offered a few suggestions for businesses able to help.
Visit www.co.guadalupe.tx.us/commcourt/collections.php for the entire posting.
The county’s post was a way of trying to help, Coleman said.
“We want the citizens to know, too,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can as fast as we can to get a solution for this.”
Seidenberger said the help can’t come fast enough. In fact, he wished the rest of the court had agreed with him and prevented the lapse in county trash collection service.
He has been receiving calls in recent months about trash being dumped on county roadways and only envisions the problems worsening, Seidenberger said.
“Even before this all came about, we had a rash of people,” he said. “It’s calmed down in the last month or so for tires.”
Around the beginning of the summer he heard about many people dumping trash on the roads, especially tires, Seidenberger said. He labeled it an epidemic.
In an attempt to prevent it from worsening, he voted for the Republic proposal, even though he disagreed with the cost increases for citizens. Entering into a two-year deal would’ve given the county more time to seek other alternatives without overly burdening the citizens, Seidenberger said.
Now he’s not sure what might happen.
“The sad part for me — and I have 48% geographically of the county — is I have a lot of people that live in rural environments that don’t have access to Dumpsters or private pickup that rely on these collection stations to take their garbage to or recycling,” Seidenberger said. “To have those stations closed for a month or 10 weeks, it’s going to really put a burden on these people.
“I ask that they can save their trash or recycling or whatever it takes but please don’t dump trash on the county roads and don’t leave your bags at the gates that are locked at these closed facilities.”