City keeps Waste Management contract

Chicago Grade Landfill will change ownership

Photo courtesy of Chicago Grade Landfill

ATASCADERO – The Atascadero City Council decided Tuesday to keep its contract with Waste Management Services for another three years rather than opening the public service competition to other bidders.

At the meeting, votes were 3/2 in favor of staying with Waste Management - Atascadero Waste Alternatives Inc., a local residential, commercial and industrial trash collection and recycling service that has been serving the city since 1996.

At the same meeting, the sale of the Chicago Grade Landfill was announced. Allos Environmental Inc., a private environmental infrastructure company headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, will be purchasing the city’s landfill. Legal entities will remain intact, however the nature of the sale requires written consent from the city.

Liz Gomez, Public Sector Solutions Manager for Waste Management introduced her entire staff by name and job duty at the council meeting to decide the fate of her company’s ongoing contract. Waste Management employees, from drivers to managers, stood up at the meeting to support their company and job – uniforms and all.

“No one knows the city like these guys,” Gomez said. “Put together we have nearly 200 years of combined industry experience. Take a look at them. I’d say they don’t look a day over 199.” Gomez gave a presentation on her company, which included a recent customer survey, showing 95 percent of customers were either satisfied or neutral with their Waste Management service.

Mayor Tom O’Malley, Council Member Brian Sturtevant and Council Member Heather Moreno voted yes on Sturtevant’s motion to renegotiate the contract with Waste Management as the city’s provider for trash and recycling services. Pro Tem Roberta Fonzi and Council Member Charles Bourbeau voted no.

Fonzi wanted a refresher on Waste Management’s rates. Bourbeau expressed interest in opening the bidding up to interested companies – established local trash and recycling providers such as Mid State Solid Waste and Recycling. Mid State’s representative showed up at the meeting to express interest in competition, as the business had done in a former meeting 2014.

According to a city staff report, renegotiating the current contract and the request for proposal process would require staff time and could take up to 12 to 18 months to complete. The report said this would incur substantial staff time and consultant fees up to $150,000.

At the same meeting, City Council detailed a management report on the sale of Chicago Grade Landfill, Inc. to Allos Environmental Inc., commending the job Chicago Grade has been doing, expanding after several changes in ownership since the original operators purchased the landfill from the county in 1970 as the primary private solid waste landfill for North County. All Chicago Grade Landfill employees will keep their jobs despite the change in ownership, including Atascadero resident Mike Giancola, who oversees operations.

Allos, which has been active in landfill management in the Bay Area for 30 years, specializes in protecting the environment but also using technologies responsibly to improve it, including making commercial products out of methane resources.

You may reach Reporter Beth Giuffre at [email protected] for questions and/or feedback.


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