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City council flips on waste contract RFP

With new councilmembers on dais, council makes different decision than previous move made in 2020
Sunday, April 25, 2021

The San Marcos City Council supported continuing its five-year contract with Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) for collection and disposal of solid waste and recyclable materials in its work session Tuesday. The decision comes with a different composition of city councilmembers on the dais than those who voted in the fall of 2020 to go out for a bid in the near future.

Staff asked the current city council in the work session if they would like to continue with the direction of the previous council to go out for bid, in efforts to get the best deal for residents, or if they would like to finish out the five-year contract.

In a September city council meeting, councilmembers voted in favor of extending the agreement for two years rather than the proposed five years with the intention of putting out a request for new proposals (RFP) to ensure competitive rates.

TDS did not agree and respectfully requested a fiveyear extension, citing the 20- year relationship between the City of San Marcos and TDS while claiming it have the lowest rates for the level of services. The contract addresses residential solid waste disposal, multifamily recycling and city facility services.

Many councilmembers were not dissatisfied with the services that TDS provides, but said they owed it to residents to ensure they are getting the best value for residents.

Staff recommended that the city accept the five-year extension with the knowledge that longer terms provide better rates and that they can begin the RFP process at any point in the contract and terminate with a 30-day notice for any reason.

In an October city council meeting, the councilmembers approved a five-year extension of the agreement for the collection and disposal of solid waste and recyclable materials after adding an amendment directing city staff to begin preparing a new request for proposals.

The decision to extend the contract was made with the knowledge that anytime during the next five years, the city can decide to terminate the contract and go out for bid, and the councilmembers made sure this work would begin soon. The change resulted in an estimated annual increase of $400,000.

Staff surveyed the community for information about what services should be included in the RFP and presented it to the city council in their work session.

“We are also going to want to confirm with the council if you are going to want to proceed forward with the RFP process at this time, or honor the five-year extension with TDS that was approved this year,” City Manager Bert Lumbreras said.

Staff would go out for bid May 1, 2024 if the council decided to finish out the five-year extension.

“Considering that it was a different council, really that provided the direction that started the process last year, just to make sure that the current council in its current makeup wants us to move forward with an RFP before the end of the five-year extension that was signed and granted last year,” Public Safety Director Chase Stapp said.

“Just thought we would take a pause here and make sure that before we put all this work into this process that it's still the rule of their council that we go forward and do that,” he continued.

Councilmember Shane Scott felt that it was best to focus staff time on helping the community after the pandemic and winter storm instead of going out for bid.

Councilmember Mark Gleason agreed and added that he did not want to create a reputation that the city does not follow through with contacts.

Councilmember Maxfield Baker was the sole vote in favor of continuing with an RFP to make sure the city is getting the best deal.


Twitter: @StephJGates

San Marcos Record

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P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666