A no-bid recycling contract worth $1.1 million a year coupled with a five-year extension of the existing garbage contract worth $14.7 million a year was approved Tuesday by the Lafayette City-Parish Council.
BFI/Allied Waste/Republic Services, which currently collects solid waste in the city of Lafayette and unincorporated parts of the parish, was awarded the city of Lafayette curbside residential recycling contract in exchange for a five-year extension of its existing garbage contract with Lafayette Consolidated Government.
The five-year extension of the solid waste contract is worth $73.5 million. The solid waste contract will now expire Oct. 31, 2023.
BFI/Allied Waste/Republic Services has had the LCG solid waste contract since 1999, when the late Walter Comeaux was city-parish president, LCG Environmental Quality Manager Mark Pope said. LCG has not accepted bids for solid waste collection since then. Former City-Parish President Joey Durel and current Mayor-President Joel Robideaux both renegotiated the contract without going out for bids.
The curbside recycling contract with The Recycling Foundation expires April 30. The Durel administration sent out a request for proposals for recycling in the city of Lafayette, unincorporated areas, apartments and businesses last year, but Robideaux rejected them.
City residents pay $2.40 a month for recycling. Under the lowest proposal submitted, both city and unincorporated residents would have been charged $5.17 a month for curbside recycling.
Recycling for unincorporated residents “would have been paid for on the backs of city of Lafayette residents,” Robideaux told The Daily Advertiser.
Republic, whose recycling bid was rejected, offered to take over curbside recycling in the city of Lafayette at the current $2.40 per resident per month only if its current solid waste contract were extended five years, Robideaux said.
The council voted 8-1 Tuesday to do just that. Councilman William Theriot voted against the contract.
Lafayette resident Michael Waldon said LCG set up a system that gave the solid waste contractor an advantage and gives the appearance of bid rigging. LCG also is extending the separate solid waste contract by five years without bids.
“That’s just not something you want to do, especially with such a large amount of citizen money being spent,” Waldon said.
Chris Schouest, a partner in Acadiana Waste Services, a locally owned and operated waste collector, expressed opposition to renewing the solid waste contract without opening it up to other companies.
The only way Republic Services would take on recycling was to extend the solid waste contract, he said.
“That means the solid waste contract is very lucrative to them,” Schouest said. “No one else had the opportunity to respond to an RFP for both. I think you could see a price decrease and you could see better service.”
Under the new contract:
- Dates for pickup will be coordinated, so garbage, yard waste and recycling will be collected on the same day.
- A manned recycling drop-off center will be available at Republic Services’ Scott location for residents of unincorporated areas to use.
- The fees for recycling and solid waste collection will not immediately increase.
- Fees can never be reduced but can never increase more than 8 percent.
- Lafayette residents will continue to pay $2.40 a month for recycling.
- Glass will no longer be recycled.
- Every single-family residence in the city of Lafayette will receive a 96-gallon recycling cart.
- BFI/Republic will continue to provide curbside residential garbage collection at residences in the city of Lafayette and unincorporated areas.