Conyers ponders bids to take over garbage collections

CONYERS -- The Conyers City Council is expected to decide next month on outsourcing garbage pickup service in the city after hearing proposals from three companies.

Pratt Industries, Advanced Disposal and Waste Management each gave presentations over the weekend during the City Council's annual retreat at Lake Lanier.

Brad Sutton, Conyers Public Works director, said the city started with six companies from the initial Request for Proposals (RFP) in the bidding process.

City Manager Tony Lucas said fees for residential service will be locked at the current $20 per month rate for 10 years.

The city began exploring outsourcing its garbage pickup service last year because of increasing costs to maintain the current level of service. Lucas said it had come to the point where a fee increase was considered if the city kept garbage pickup services in house.

"It's important to understand the city had to consider going into a public/private partnership because of increased costs," Lucas said. "On a supplement side of things we were supporting the service with $150,000 each year. Also, in keeping with our capital plan we were in line to have to purchase two new garbage trucks, so we had to consider moving into a different direction."

Benchmarks are in place to allow the vendor to increase its charges for fuel increases and other factors; however, Lucas said the city will cover those charges if they occur.

Sutton explained that the city's requirements will keep the city involved in garbage pickup. The contractor selected will manage existing routes and the city's expansion of recycling efforts.

"If they have their logo on it, we're going to have our logo on it," Sutton said. "It's not going to be like it's them doing everything and we're falling out. It's like a marriage and it's going to be a joint venture. If we got issues, then we all got issues."

Also, the contract will mean a waste transfer station will be built in the city. Advanced Disposal and Waste Management proposed building a facility at the end of Conyers Station Road, just off Sigman Road and east of Ga. Highway 138. Pratt said it would build a transfer station on its current campus on Sarasota Industrial Parkway.

Pratt is offering $4 per ton for a transfer host fee to the city compared to $1 per ton offered by Waste Management and Advanced. Sutton said Pratt's fee offer is much higher than the industry standard.

Pratt officials said they could recoup the fee to the city by recycling paper and cardboard for its Visy Paper Mill operations, wood and other combustible materials for its clean energy power plant and selling off recyclable glass and plastics to third party vendors.

Conyers Mayor Randy Mills said after the presentations he expected the issue to come up for a vote for the City Council this month or in early March.