16:56Wednesday, November 16, 2022
After soliciting bids over the past nine months, Brooklyn Park approved a new five-year recycling contract and chose to stick with the city’s current hauler, Waste Management. The new contract will increase household rates by more than $1 per month.
The Brooklyn Park City Council approved the new deal by a 6-0 vote. Council member Boyd Mawson was not present.
The city solicited new bids due to the issue of waste management services, but received only one much higher bid. Brooklyn Park is Waste Management’s largest municipal recycling contract.
According to Brooklyn Park Recycling Manager Tim Pratt, when the recycling contract was renewed in 2017, the city received four proposals. Only Waste Management and Eureka Recycling submitted bids this time.
Pratt spoke of two companies that did not bid this year. He assured council members that these two companies will be able to hire enough drivers and get the number of trucks they need by July 1, 2023, when the new contracts start, due to supply chain issues. Said he didn’t.
“They said it was enough time in the past, but not enough time in this situation… enough.
Waste management: ‘Brooklyn Park is a very high priority’
Brooklyn Park residents now pay $2.45 a month for recycling. Under the new contract, residents’ costs will be $3.73 per month. A proposal by Eureka Recycling cost residents $6.73 a month, plus an additional fee to purchase a cart.
Eureka ranked high on the other three factors, but cost accounted for 40% of the city officials’ ratings. The city also considered purchasing its own carts to garner more bids.
“We thought of buying a cart that would level the playing field and make the bidding process truly competitive,” says Pratt. “We didn’t see any leveling of the playing field.”
Waste Management has agreed an improvement plan with Brooklyn Park to prevent service problems from recurring in the city. It calls on waste management to increase the number of drivers serving the city from he five to he seven. The company also agreed to prioritize Brooklyn Park when hiring and assigning drivers.
“Brooklyn Park is so high a priority that we are moving away from our previous contracts,” Rob Swanson, senior district manager for waste management, told city council.
Swanson said the company is also taking unusual steps to hire more drivers. He said Waste Management launched a new training program last year for people without a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
“There’s nothing I haven’t tried before the pandemic,” says Swanson. “About 70,000 drivers are down nationwide because of the CDL.”
He said the company has done everything from bonuses to several wage hikes above Social Security’s inflation adjustment of 8.9%. Swanson said the new hiring program should soon help alleviate the driver shortage.
Swanson said the company is hiring ahead of hiring and anticipates employee turnover, which has never happened before.