Flint, MI–On June 28, the Flint City Council voted to delay discussion of a 90-day trash collection contract extension to the day the current contract is set to expire.

The contract extension was brought to the council June 28, two days before the contract, with Republic Services, expires on June 30. The council will hold a special meeting on that day to discuss the extension. The contract would extend the contract with Republic through September 30, 2021, for an additional $1.43 million. This would bring their contract total to $21,019,325.89.

The city administration has requested this extension to allow them time to redo the bid process for trash collection services for the upcoming fiscal years. The bid process was initially done in March in a private meeting—a violation of the city’s charter.

If the council chooses not to approve the contract extension with Republic Services, the city will be without trash pickup beginning July 1, said Clyde Edwards, Flint’s City Administrator. According to Jamoni Harper, Flint’s area leader and representative from Republic Services, if the contract is signed and the terms of the agreement are met on June 30, there will be no delay in trash pickup on July 1. 

At the June 28 council meeting, some councilmembers argued that the contract extension with Republic Services wasn’t brought before them with sufficient time to vote.

“I hope that what constituents will see is that this is purposefully being brought before us, in which there is no time (to vote) and I will not be held accountable because the administration slacked in bringing this to us in a timely fashion,” Councilwoman Monica Galloway said. “I won’t be supporting this … and I’m not going to be made to believe that trash is not picked up because of my decisions.”

Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter opposed the extension due to issues with service the city has seen over the past few months. Harper said, “there’s a nationwide shortage of truck drivers and CDL drivers across the nation, even in the Flint market” in response to claims of negligent services from Republic Services.

“I am not supporting the resolution,” Councilwoman Winfrey-Carter said. “Republic owes us money with the negligent services. We didn’t receive any services from the last contract. Why should I vote to extend this contract for another 90 days?”

Councilwoman Eva Worthing brought up concerns about the accumulation of “stinking” garbage “in the front of people’s homes” if the council didn’t support the extension.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t posted correctly, and we are behind,” said Councilwoman Eva Worthing. “So now we need to bid it correctly and in the meantime we still need garbage picked up. So what are you going to do, to those who vote no?”

Galloway made a motion to amend the contract with Republic Services to an amount not to exceed $1.1 million because she thought $1.4 million “is way too much in a three month period.” Harper said Republic Services would refuse to enter into a lower amount for the contract. According to City Attorney Angela Wheeler Republic Services would have the right reject a revised contract. 

The council voted 5-3 to postpone the discussion of this contract to potentially negotiate the asking price and/or the timeframe of the service. Council President Kate Fields, Councilwoman Eva Worthing, and Councilman Santino Guerra voted against the postponement. Councilman Allan Griggs was absent.

There will be a special meeting on June 30 at 5 p.m. to discuss the contract extension with Republic Services.

Khue Tran (she/her) is a journalist hailing from Pflugerville, TX. She is currently a student at Yale University and has written for multiple publications on campus, in addition to having words in the...

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