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Flint, MI—Flint’s trash might be left at the curb.
On June 30, the Flint City Council turned down a proposed 90-day extension with its current trash contractor, Republic Services, which would have given the city time to accept bids for a new contract.
That was the same day the current contract with Republic ended, leaving it unclear whether residents will have their trash picked up.
Instead of accepting the proposed extension from the city administration, the council instead voted in favor of a 30-day extension, but it’s unclear whether the administration or Republic will agree to it.
Trash is the City’s largest contract, costing on average about $3.8 million per year in recent years.
John Daly, Flint’s Director of Transportation Infrastructure, urged the council to continue with the 90-day contract extension to give the administration enough time to bid for a new trash contract. The City had gone through a bidding process earlier this year, but went through the process privately—a violation of the city’s charter, forcing them to have to start from scratch.
“The best reason is continuity of the level of service that we would get for the three months,” Daly said. “We would get a faster and more continuous level of service than we would, by going to an outside contractor. This is time that we can use on the city side to go through the evaluation of RFPs (request for proposal) and subsequent contract award.”
Daly also said that if the council decides to look to another company for garbage collection pickup, they would need to find a company with the proper equipment, as well as a sufficient number of properly licensed drivers. Republic Services representative Jamoni Harper said those drivers are currently in short supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Daly further argued that a 30-day contract extension would not be a sufficient amount of time for “continuity in service” without delays in trash pick-up.
Some members of the council said they wanted more time to review the 90-day extension, criticizing Mayor Neeley and the administration for bringing it to them two days before the contract was expire.
“I really wanted to see where Republic was with their commitment to this community,” Councilman Eric Mays said. “I wanted to see where Mr. Neely was with his politics. I know how a good partnership works.”
The council voted 5-4 to extend Republic’s contract by 30 days. Council members Eva Worthing, Santino Guerra, Kate Fields, and Herbert Winfrey voted against the 30-day extension.
The new bid process for waste collection services will be open to the public for hearing on July 12.