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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Weighing in on Waste Management no bid contract – again

The bill for the no-bid contract to run Trail Ridge Landfill that the Mayor wants to give to his buddy Paul Harden and Waste Management will be up for consideration in Council Committees next week.  Jacksonville Politics has posted on this issue numerous times and why it is such a bad deal for the citizens of Jacksonville (just search Waste Management in the upper right hand side our page) as has the Times Union and Ron Littlepage.  Littlepage takes on the City Council, the Mayor, and Paul Harden again today in his column.

According to Littlepage

A poll conducted earlier this week asked respondents if they approved of Mayor John Peyton’s plan to award the lucrative, 35-year contract to Waste Management without allowing other companies to submit bids that some argue could save taxpayers at least $100 million.

The answer wasn’t just no. It was heck no.

Eighty-seven percent said the bid process should be open to other companies.

In the polling business, that’s a huge number.

The poll also contained a message for City Council members who might be considering future political careers.

Asked if they would vote for a council member in a future election if that council member supported the no-bid contract, 60 percent of the respondents said they would be less likely to vote for that candidate.

Read the rest of the column here.

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Filed under: Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, , , ,

2 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Mayorsays... says:

    From: Mayor John Peyton
    Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 3:19 PM
    To: Mayorjohnpeyton@coj.net
    Subject: Message From Mayor John Peyton: Trail Ridge Landfill

    Dear Friends:

    After many months of negotiating a contract for the disposal of solid waste at Trail Ridge Landfill, the city has reached an agreement to extend its contract with its current landfill operator, Waste Management – a move that saves taxpayers more than $200 million. As mayor, it is my duty to seek the best deal for the taxpayers of this city, and I am convinced that this agreement with Waste Management cannot be matched.

    While the Jacksonville City Council must ultimately sign off on this deal, my staff worked very hard to represent the best interests of the taxpayer while at the bargaining table. Below, I have outlined the merits of the bill currently before the council.

    Garbage is big business, and although we may only think about it when the collection at our home is missed, the management of waste is critical to our community’s continued economic development. A community’s failure to manage garbage collection well, or failure to have a quality landfill operating at a competitive price, directly affects the taxpayers’ bottom line. If the city’s current landfill space reaches capacity, which it is projected to do in five to seven years, we will be forced to stop development across Jacksonville and pay more than $30 million annually to haul waste out of the county.

    The current proposal supports my desire to save taxpayer money, protect the city from future liability and prevent any disruption to the disposal of waste in our community. First, the city will save about $20 million on its existing contract with Waste Management, which was initially bid in 1991. Second, Waste Management will assume all environmental liability associated with operating a landfill, saving the city more than $150 million. In addition, it will also free up more than $30 million to meet other city needs.

    The city is only able to realize these savings by extending its contract with Waste Management. I have met with independent waste disposal experts, who have no vested financial interest in this deal, and they have assured me that no other company could match, much less better, the proposed contract. If council chooses to bid the contract, more than $200 million in guaranteed savings will be lost, and taxpayers will foot the bill. Likewise, if the council chooses to bid the contract, it will trigger an immediate $30 million-plus cost to close the current site.

    Opponents of this deal have chosen to focus on the politics and personalities of this debate, rather than the undeniable financial benefits to the taxpayer. The deal on the table was negotiated by city engineers who have years of environmental and landfill experience – not politicians, lawyers or public relations agents. If our opponents’ lobbyists are successful in clouding the rhetoric with scare tactics and misrepresentation, it will not only cost taxpayers millions of dollars, but Jacksonville could also be faced with a future landfill crisis that could shut down growth and development in our city.

    I cannot, in good conscience, let that happen on my watch.

    Respectfully,

    John Peyton
    Mayor

  2. […] Even to the point of flipping his position to avoid having to put the contract out to bid and sending out letters in his own defense to anyone who has ever written […]

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