Katy City Council postpones solid waste contract decision

By R. Hans Miller | Times Senior Reporter
Posted 7/7/20

Katy City Council opted to table a decision on who the city’s solid waste services provider would be at a special meeting held July 6 at 6 p.m. During the digital meeting held via Zoom, council …

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Katy City Council postpones solid waste contract decision

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Katy City Council opted to table a decision on who the city’s solid waste services provider would be at a special meeting held July 6 at 6 p.m. During the digital meeting held via Zoom, council members grilled representatives of the two companies considered by city staff to be the top contenders for the job.

Finalists Texas Pride Disposal and Republic Services were pulled from a pool of six respondents which included Best Trash, Frontier Waste Solutions, HHW Solutions and WCA Waste Corporation.

City Council Member Frank Carroll III motioned for the item to be tabled after council discussions revealed that some documentation in the request for proposal response may not have been complete. The concern arose after it was noted that Texas Pride had not provided three years of audited financial data. The council ultimately decided to table the matter to provide the trash services vendors the opportunity to clarify their proposals.

Council Member Janet Corte expressed concerns to Republic Waste representative Joey Howell regarding recent price concerns with Republic increasing their pricing but bidding a lower cost than their current pricing. She noted that the price difference when compared to current pricing would save Katy residents about $360,000.

“With bins around town, probably around the metro Houston area the past year, we have seen some of the market pricing (go down) and we had to kind of make a decision on our end, ‘Are we going to bid I guess what we need or do we want to continue the relationship?’ We’ve had this contract now for 20 years. At this rate for us, the margins are very-very slim at the $14.25 (per bin per household, but) we would like to continue the relationship, really, that we’ve built probably over the last 20 years.”

Texas Pride’s rate is $12.80 per bin per household according to city documents. Both would offer heavy trash pickup one time per week, super-heavy trash on a quarterly basis. Texas Pride would offer three different routes to the city on Mondays, Tuesdays or Fridays with all services provided to that route on the same day. Thus, someone getting trash service on Tuesday would put their trash, recycling and heavy trash out for Tuesday pickup and would not need to put their trash out any other day. Republic Services offers similar options with Monday, Wednesday and Thursday routes and recycling and heavy trash picked up at the end of the week and super-heavy trash picked up quarterly.

 A survey from the city to obtain resident input was sent to 6,370 households within Katy’s city limits and 40% or 2,549 of those households responded. Of those who responded, 78% were satisfied with Republic Services, the current waste services contractor for the city, and 21% were not pleased with the current vendor. About 1% did not indicate satisfaction either way.

Both vendors said they would be able to provide glass recycling to residents, though Republic Services said they were concerned about possible chargebacks from their recycling services vendor if too many single stream recycling loads were rejected due to broken glass.

Texas Pride had submitted one year of audited financial information, while Republic Services had submitted three years of audited financial data. The measure was tabled until the next Katy City Council meeting to allow city staff to examine both the wording of the request for proposals and to allow Texas Pride to submit the audited financial documents as a clarification to their response.

“These are companies and when you put something in a compiled financial report, you don’t have a second set of eyes like the city does when we’re audited every year. So when we’re talking about the financial wherewithal to provide the largest service to the city that we provide, it’s important that we nail down these numbers and we make sure of the voracity of the numbers. And so, if we ask for audited financials and we receive non-audited financials, then it doesn’t seem like it complies with the (request for proposals),” said Council Member Frank Carroll III. 

Katy City Council generally meets the second and fourth Monday of each month. The meeting scheduled for July 13 was cancelled and rescheduled as a special meeting for July 6 and the next regular meeting is scheduled for July 27 at 6:30 p.m. though that time may change to accommodate council members’ schedules and city needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Safety concerns have moved city council meetings online since shortly after the pandemic began. Scheduling can be viewed at www.cityofkaty.com/about/calendar.

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