Council Makes Garbage Decision

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A recommendation by the committee charged with deciding the best bid for Meridian's garbage contract was reversed Friday by the Meridian City Council.

In a called meeting, the council debated between two bidders for the city's solid waste garbage business, Inland Services or Waste Management.

Purchasing manager Wallace Heggie, a member of the committee, began the meeting.

"Your committee discussed the pros and cons of each proposal that was submitted and the committee voted 5 to 1 for a recommendation to come to you for Inland Services of LaGuena, Texas, to serve as the provider for collection of residential and municipal solid waste," Heggie said.

Waste Management bid $12.45 per household. Inland Services submitted a bid of $11.50 per household. The difference over a year's time is about $192,000. Both companies were allowed to speak.

"We've put together what we think is a good program that's going to work for Meridian and for Inland," said Bob Alford, a representative of Inland Services. "We try to get involved in the community where we work just like any other company does."

"Those citizens have been used to a certain service, a certain company. We've formed a kind of relationship with a lot of them here, a lot of people. We know the city," said Buford Clark of Waste Management.

The current Waste Management contract would have rolled over on Oct. 1 at a price higher than $14 monthly per household, so either contract would save the city substantial money.

After a series of questions from council members, even the mayor got into the discussion.

"These represent the faxed complaints that come into the city that are faxed over. These are complaints since November," said Mayor John Robert Smith.

When the vote was taken, the committee's recommendation of Inland's low bid was rejected 4 to 1 and the higher Waste Management bid was accepted.

Only Dr. George Thomas of Ward 1 voted in favor of the lower bid. Net savings at the higher price will still be about $342,000 per year, or about $2 million over the life of the contract.