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Garner council opts for second-lowest bidder for trash pickup

Posted July 13, 2009
Updated July 14, 2009

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— A contract dispute is growing in the Wake County town of Garner, where town leaders did not go with the lowest bid for trash pickup, despite the fact the town is cutting other services.

trash Controversy surrounds Garner's trash pickup bid

The lowest bidder for the town's new solid waste contract was Shaw Sanitation, based in Wake Forest, but the Town Council voted 4-1 to sign a $4.6 million three-year contract with All-Star, which cost $360,000 more.

Garner has cut more than $3 million from the town's budget.

"That's the big question on the street in these economic times," Mayor Ronnie Williams said. "In these economic times, why did this happen? We're supposed to be saving money. We're supposed to be cutting back."

Town council member Buck Kennedy said All-Star is based closer to the town – in Benson – and has family ties to Garner. He also said there was some concern after a WRAL 5 on your Side Investigation that showed Shaw crews dumping curbside recycling in the same truck for regular trash.

Shaw executives have said they have fixed the problem, assured town leaders of that in a letter, and still outscored the other companies by as much as 25 points on an evaluation administered by town staff.

"To us, we should have been awarded the contract based on the merits and based on the fact that we were lower (in cost)," Shaw Sanitation's chief financial officer, Craig Jackson said.

"We have over 30 years experience," he added. "The company selected has approximately six. They have about eight employees. We have approximately 40."

But Kennedy said the lowest bidder does not always guarantee the best service.

"We elected to choose the firm that would provide us, Garner citizens, with the absolute very best service," Kennedy said. "I think the Town Council made an appropriate decision. We'll wait to see what transpires."

It's a decision Williams, and others in the community don't understand, especially when budget cuts for this year ran deep.

"We cut (the budget) for youth sports leagues. We cut it for performing arts. We cut it for Garner area ministries which help a lot of people," Williams said. "I would like to see a change in direction, a change in the decision that would award it to the low bidder."

This issue will come up again at Garner's next town council meeting next Tuesday.

"It's out there, and the public deserves an answer," Williams said.

Jackson said representatives from his company will be there. He also said the company is considering legal action and has filed a formal protest against the Town Council's decision.

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  • Tidbit Jul 14, 2009

    "Town council member Buck Kennedy said All-Star is based closer to the town – in Benson – and has family ties to Garner."

    I think that pretty much sums it up. If it's one thing I've learned since I've moved to NC, it's all about who you know

  • ConcernedNCC Jul 14, 2009

    I stopped years ago paying for a recyling bin from Allied Waste when I saw them dumping it in with the rest of the garbage. I've saved a lot of money since then.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Jul 14, 2009

    or it's just that shaw sanitation sucks and they knew that. gosh conspiracy theorists.

  • Garnerwolf1 Jul 14, 2009

    All 3 bids were under the budgeted amount for the contract. One of the Council members lives beside the parents of the owner of All-Star; although I don't really think this had much, if any, influence. It's funny that they've also decided to purchase larger bins for recycling. These bins cost almost exactly the same as the difference between the lowest bid and the next lowest (which is the one they awarded the contract to). I don't think the whole story has come out on this yet - although I don't think it's necessarily graft or corruption as some think - because otherwise this decision makes no sense.

  • we-r-just-human Jul 13, 2009

    Were the new bids cheaper then in the past contracts...

  • cuffusion Jul 13, 2009

    Hmm.. it would appear that an investigation as to whether or not any of those on the committee or their families have a financial interest in the awarded company should be conducted .. if it is found that the process was violated in such way the offending parties should face felony charges and be immediately dismissed from their positions within the town Government.