County picked the highest bid from Veolia for trash pickup @ LCC 2012-10-09

The facts don’t match County Chairman Bill Slaughter’s assertion (according to the VDT Thursday):

That decision was made in a good-faith effort to find the lowest possible rate for garbage service for the citizens of Lowndes County, he said Tuesday.

Commissioner Richard Raines moved and the Commission voted to approve 9 October 2012 Proposal D and awarded it to the lowest bidder for that specific proposal, which was Veolia. But that wasn’t the lowest-priced proposal, according to the sheet of choices they were using in that meeting:

All of the bidders bid lower on at least one other proposal than they did on Proposal D. ADS (which purchased ADS the following month) bid $15.86 on Proposal B and $18.39 on Proposal D. Veolia itself bid lowest on Proposal F ($8.33), not Proposal D ($13.05). Veolia also bid lower on Proposal A ($12.74). Both Proposal A and Proposal F were non-exclusive, which you can see by the text of the RFP. In fact, Proposal D had Veolia’s highest bid.

Now you wouldn’t have known it at that meeting, at which only the bid sheet was displayed, and the bid sheet included only prices, but the RFP does repeatedly say:

The Award will not be made solely based on price (See Item No. 14 herein).

And Proposal D does include some items some of the other proposals do not, so maybe Commissioner Raines picked it because of some factors in addition to price. Maybe he picked it because it included recycling, or maybe he picked it because it included a non-exclusive contract. It’s hard to tell from what he said:

I’m one of those residents that have a card, I pay $100 a year for the card, but I also have curbside. I have a large family. And I end up paying about $30 a month for solid waste. And I’ll let the other commissioners speak for themselves, but for me, option D is the best option. It would represent a significant savings. It’s curbside pickup for everything. Bulky solid waste, residential solid waste, bulky items, recycling, yard waste. I don’t think it could get any easier than to have someone come to the end of your driveway and pick it up.

Raines emphasized price and “for me”. He ignored that many of us who had the cards have different situations than his surburban street-dwelling situation, and his solution is not easier for us than the county’s collection centers. The other Commissioners did not speak for themselves. Maybe if the Commission had held public hearings about waste disposal before deciding, we might have heard all their reasons, and we all might have been able to give ours. But they didn’t do that.

Why wasn’t there a non-exclusive do-everything Proposal X column? Why was the RFP constructed so that the most inclusive features were for an exclusive contract?

Commissioner Raines did say he was already a customer of Veolia. Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Why did the only Commissioner who said he was a customer of Veolia move to award not the lowest bid overall, rather Veolia’s highest bid?

Now Bill Slaughter was not Chairman in October 2012, Ashley Paulk was, and I don’t even know whether Slaughter was at that meeting. But the facts are the opposite of what Chairman Slaughter asserted. According to the county’s own RFP and bid summary table, the Commission did not pick the lowest bid overall, and the lowest bid was for a non-exclusive proposal. Once again, the Commission chose an exclusive proposal with the highest bid from Veolia.

How is this helping “the freedoms we enjoy”?

-jsq

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