Livingston council picks garbage firm

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comNovember 8, 2012 

LIVINGSTON -- The City Council selected a waste hauler to contract with for the next several years and a rate increase could follow.

While the council selected the waste hauler, members supporting the company weren't able to get enough votes to approve a contract. But that agreement will likely be passed in an upcoming meeting, officials said.

Though the city's rate consultant still needs to do an analysis, City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez estimated that a "reasonable" utility rate increase for residents is likely.

The city likely will enter into a 10-year contract with Gilton Solid Waste Management, but that agreement can be shortened if rate increases don't pass. Ramirez described that scenario as unlikely, noting that any increases won't be substantial.

Since 1986, Livingston has contracted with Gilton. That relationship included periodic extensions but ends Dec. 31, according to staff documents.

In July, the city sent out a request for proposals and got four by August, including Gilton, Turlock Scavengers, Mid Valley Disposal and Sunset Waste Systems.

Ramirez said all the companies were comparable in cost, but differ in their approach, services and equipment.

Gilton was the lowest bidder with rates of $15.95 a month, followed by Mid Valley at $16.95 a month and Turlock Scavengers at $19.60. Those figures still need to be analyzed by rate consultants and city fees will be added to them.

Livingston will use a two-can system, one for solid waste and another for green waste.

Council members were conflicted with their decision during Thursday night's special meeting.

Councilwoman Theresa Land initially motioned to bring in Mid Valley as the city's waste hauler, but her proposal didn't get support from the other two council members on the dais. Mayor Pro Tem Margarita Aguilar and Councilman Frank Vierra were absent.

Councilman Gurpal Samra motioned to approve the contract agreement with Gilton, but with two council members absent and Land voting "no," the motion failed 2-1. Three votes are needed to pass a resolution.

Samra and Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza instead voted to select Gilton on another 2-1 vote. The contract likely will be approved at a future meeting when more council members are present.

Gilton's low bid and good service were enough to win over Samra, he said.

On the other hand, Land said she preferred Mid Valley Disposal because of their facilities and systems.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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