Chelsea City Council talks trash, awards garbage contract

By CASSANDRA MICKENS / Associate Editor

CHELSEA — The Chelsea City Council voted April 1 to award its garbage collection and curbside recycling contract to Birmingham-based Waste Pro, disappointing the contract’s low bidder.

Waste Pro submitted a pricing plan of $11.45 and $19 per month for two levels of residential rates, and an $11.83 blended rate that averages the two figures — the third lowest bid of the five submitted. The low bidder, Pelham-based Trash Taxi of Alabama, submitted residential rates of $9.43 and $14.43 per month, and a $9.68 blended rate.  Trash Taxi of Alabama currently serves the city of Pelham.

Of the five bids submitted, Waste Pro was the only firm to meet the city’s bidding process criteria, which included a minimum of five years in operation and a $20 million umbrella insurance policy. City Attorney Mark Boardman said the council is charged with selecting the “lowest responsible bidder.”

Councilwoman Juanita Champion made the motion to award the contract to Waste Pro as the lowest responsible bidder and Councilwoman Alison Nichols seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously upon a roll call vote.

Roberto Rodriguez, president of Trash Taxi Alabama, expressed his disappointment with the council’s decision outside city hall.

“We were the low bid, we followed the steps and covered the bases to make sure we qualified for the bid,” Rodriguez said.

Boardman explained to the council that Trash Taxi of Alabama did not provide the $20 million umbrella insurance coverage and pollution coverage. Boardman said the insurance requirement is necessary because the council wants to “protect the city and the residents of the city.

In addition, Trash Taxi of Alabama was established in 2013 and there were issues with its equipment list, Boardman said.

Rodriguez said he thought the $20 million insurance policy was required once the contract was finalized with the city.

“We were not going to buy a $20 million policy just for [the bidding process],” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez added: “It’s frustrating to hear you’re not old enough to provide service.  We come into the Chelsea to serve pockets of Pelham. We’re already here, and we have no complaints.”

Mayor Earl Niven said the city’s three-year contract with Birmingham-based Republic Services expires May 31. Waste Pro will assume service June 1.