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Tessitor Talks Athens Trash

In his first column with Patch, Glendora Mayor Doug Tessitor discusses terms of the city's contract with Athens Services.

Glendora Mayor Doug Tessitor fields your community questions and answers them in a weekly column. In Glendora Patch’s Mayor’s Roundtable, you are invited in an ongoing dialogue about issues and concerns you have regarding your city. Share your ideas and voice your opinion.

Have a question you'd like Mayor Tessitor to answer? E-mail hazel.lodevicotoo@patch.com

Question:

Congratulations, Mr. Tessitor on your re-election and your selection as Glendora mayor. I believe the city chose well in this election. Just a question, and you’re probably sick of this topic since you hear it at every council meeting: how do you explain the accusations that the city does not put city trash services out to bid? Is it really true that residents could get a cheaper rate if we did? I’m hearing this quite often, and I'm skeptical of the source, but it would be good to hear a solid explanation. Thank you.

Answer:

Thank you for the kind words and congratulations! I appreciate them. Thank you also for the question about the upcoming trash contract. I will give you the facts and hopefully it will put the entire issue into perspective.

First, a little history:  The City of Glendora had what is known as an “evergreen” contract with Athens Services until 2001. In 2001, the Glendora City Council voted to exercise a termination clause, which provided for one five-year renewal and subsequent renegotiation of the agreement, or an open bidding process to commence at that time.

Sometime during the year in 2005, Athens began discussions with the (then) City Manager, Eric Ziegler regarding the possibility of renegotiating the contract. Those discussions continued until mid-year 2006. At that time Mr. Ziegler brought to the Council’s attention that the Trash Contract was expiring, that negotiations had been ongoing with Athens and that Council needed to consider approving the renegotiated agreement.

The Council had discussions in closed session about the proposed agreement and the advisability of putting the contract out to open bid. A question was asked with regard to public records and the details of the rates and other conditions in the proposed agreement. The council determined at that time that any competitive bidder would have an advantage knowing what Athens had already agreed to and would be able to “low-ball” a bid unfairly. Consequently, we felt that the agreement that had been negotiated was in fact a “fait-accompli," an accomplished, presumably irreversible deed.

That agreement was approved with a date of December 1, 2006 for a term of seven years.  It also provided that, “(ii) no later than five (5) years from the date hereof, City and Athens Services will meet to discuss extending the term of this Agreement.”  Therefore, according to the agreement, we must meet to discuss extending it, but if we do not agree to extend it, the contract will not expire until November 30, 2013.

There is nothing in state law that requires the city to put this contract out to bid.  There is only one small group that seems to have issues with Athens, but in the eight years I have been on the city council, I am unaware of a single complaint about Athens’ customer service. In all the years I have lived in Glendora, which include all the years Athens has provided our trash pickup, I have never had occasion to complain about their costs or services.

Any competitive bid would have to provide equivalent services for the same or a lower price. And provide comparable customer service. For about $25 per month, Athens will pick up virtually any discarded item, household trash and yard waste, sort them in their MRF and provide street sweeping services city wide. 

I am of the opinion that we should do everything we can to determine how our rates and service levels compare with other communities that contract with other providers.  If there appear to be significant variances, then we should seek competitive bids. If, on the other hand, our research shows that we have reasonable rates given our service levels, then I would choose to follow the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

dd April 19, 2011 at 08:42 PM
My only issue with Athens is street sweeping during the day. Why can"t Athens do the sweeping in the middle of the night, like the city used to, when street parking is prohibited. Many areas get missed every week due to cars on the street.
Kathy Bell May 15, 2011 at 07:35 PM
This has been our only issue with Athen's Trash also. Our street used to be swept at 5:00 AM on Fridays, you could just about set your clock by them. I am home most of the day and cannot tell you when the last time was that the street sweeper came by. I have seen Athen's sweeping other streets later in the morning and driving around parked cars. Once they went around three cars in a row and further down the street they had to go around several more cars. We're not getting our monie's worth from Athens on street sweeping. We have never had any problems with Athens and appreciate that they will take just about anything you put out for them on trash days, but we would like to see what other trash companies have to offer us also.
gsuburban April 24, 2012 at 10:20 PM
I agree on the hours of street sweeping, if you are not using those no parking hours to do the sweeping, then forget them or reduce the fee's for sweeping streets. Another concern, all outside services, especially those of this revenue magnitude, should be on a bid basis and on annual bids, not 5 years or 8 years etc. I have no complaints of our current trash service however, I do not believe the cost of those services are being calculated fairly. The market can determine the cost, not the city and the trash company.

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