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By MARTY FINLEY
HARDIN COUNTY – Waste Transport will likely be offering its services in unincorporated parts of Hardin County for three more years.
Hardin County Fiscal Court approved first reading Tuesday of an ordinance for the county’s trash collection bid to be awarded to Waste Transport, the current hauler. Also bidding were Eco-Tech of Louisville; Scott Waste Service of Bowling Green; RR Waste Solutions of Austin, Texas; and local hauler Rumpke.
Waste Transport’s bid was $18.35 per month, but it was outbid by RR Waste Solutions, which bid $17.97.
However, Waste Transport agreed to match the lowest bid after negotiating further with the county. Waste Transport currently charges $16.73 per month.
The decision did not come without dissent.
Commissioner Bill Brandenburg voted no, saying the process by which the bid was chosen was not appropriate.
Brandenburg said he was pleased with the work Waste Transport did in the county, but not pleased with the manner that the county approached the bid process. He said if they were going to allow companies to match the lowest bid, they should have negotiated with haulers instead of accepting bids for the work.
Judge-Executive Harry Berry said the decision was not just about the lowest price, but the best overall bid. He said Waste Transport is known in the community and had equipment in place. The agreement to match the lowest price only accentuated the attractiveness of its bid.
Commissioner Garry King agreed.
“Waste Transport is a known entity in Hardin County,” he said.
King said the county could trust Waste Transport to do an excellent job because it already had proven it would deliver on its promises. He said satisfaction among residents had been higher with Waste Transport than many previous trash haulers.
In the same meeting, commissioners discussed amending the 2001 ordinance authorizing mandatory trash collection fees for county residents outside of city limits.
The original ordinance placed the responsibility of payment on the occupant of a residence, while the amended ordinance, which passed a first reading, would make the property owner responsible.
Brandenburg said he did not know why the amendment was needed because there was no real problem with the original ordinance. The waste hauler, as well as residents, seemed to be content with it, he said.
The decision to amend the ordinance was spurred by the bidders’ desire to charge the owner, which would ensure larger collections in the county, and lower bids were promised.
Berry said the amended ordinance ensures lower bids and better rates for residents. He said the rising cost of fuel would have increased bids and the county needed to take measures to hold costs as low as possible.
Wayne Smith, owner of Waste Transport, said the change in the ordinance should make it easier on haulers because owners don’t move around as much as someone who rents a house or apartment.
But Brandenburg said the court should have asked for two bids from the companies to see what companies would bid under the current ordinance and the amended ordinance. Fiscal Court then could have compared the difference in prices.
The bidders also were told to prepare their bids for a new ordinance, even though it hadn’t been discussed in a court meeting, Brandenburg said.
“These are the decisions that should be made in open court,” Brandenburg said.
Berry said bid specifications were drafted after each commissioner voiced an opinion on the issue.
Commissioner Bill Hay said he had spoken to property owners throughout the county who supported the idea. King said he had gotten mixed reactions, but found some property owners who already were paying the fees to maintain cleaner properties. He added that passing the amended ordinance would give county residents as a whole a cheaper bill than they would pay otherwise.
“I want to get the absolute best bid,” he said.
Second reading for the trash collection bid is scheduled for the Aug. 26 meeting.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762.