Discussion about who the city of Weyauwega will contract with for residential garbage and recycling pick up will return to the Public Works Committee next week.
Last month, the committee recommended contracting with Harter’s Fox Valley for two years, with an option for a third year.
The common council’s vote on the committee’s recommendation ended in a tie.
Shani Appleby, Nick Gunderson and Keith Nadjowski voted in favor of it, while Bruce Brunner, Johanna Edwards and Scott Rasmussen voted against it.
Mayor Mike Kempf broke the tie and voted against the recommendation, so the motion failed.
“It’ll go back to committee,” said Gunderson, who chairs the Public Works Committee.
The Public Works Committee meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12, in the Weyauwega Public Library’s lower level meeting room.
Graichen Sanitation and Harter’s Fox Valley were the two contractors that provided quotes.
Harter’s Fox Valley quoted an annual cost for the first year of $81,086 for combined residential garbage and recyling wtih a monthly garbage rate of $8 and a monthly recyling rate of $2.46 per home.
The city currently contracts with Graichen Sanitation for weekly garbage and monthly recyling pick up.
It quoted an annual cost of $87,985, with a monthly garbage rate of $9.35 and monthly recycling rate of $2 per home.
During the Dec. 8 committee meeting, Lynn Graichen presented two revisions to the quote originally presented, and those revisions resulted in the council’s split decision.
Graichen told the committee his company built in a 63-cent per home, per month fee to account for pick-up services for city-owned property and that one of the revised qutoes was to remove the 63-cent fee per home.
He said he did not receive anything from the city indicating the city-owned pick up services needed to be separated from the residential quote.
He also provided a second revised quote to reduce the recycling rate charged to residential customers, saying his company earns revenue from a recycling rebate for selling the materials the city pays to have collected and that the second revised proposal would be an offer to split that revenue wtih the city.
Graichen referred to documents from about four years ago in which the prior city administrator authorized costs of pick up at city-owned properties to be included with the residential pick up rates and not be separated.
During that meeting, Gunderson read the city’s 2014 Request for Proposals document, which was provided to garbage and recycling haulers.
The city specifically requested quotes for residential pick up rates and said costs for the potential pick up at city-owned properties were to be separated into one sum quote and listed outside of the residential rate quote.
At the common council’s December meeting, Gunderson said the committee felt accepting unsolicited bids would undermine the city’s credibility.
That is why the committee recommended Harter’s Fox Valley for the quote.
City Administrator Patrick Wetzel sought an opinion on the issue from City Attorney Jim Kalny.
In a memo, Kalny said it is not illegal to change a quote.
Wetzel told the council the city has enough money in the budget to cover either quote.
He also said the city’s RFP document made it clear about the quote the city was seeking.
Graichen again said that the previous city administrator asked for everything being done for the city to put in the quote and then divided out.
Citing his loyalty to Weyauwega, Graichen said his company has “probably been heen 20 years.”
He said other companies seeking the contract with the city could see Weyauwega’s current contract with Graichen Sanitation as it is a public document.
“I think sometimes the lowest price is not always your best price. I think we’ve been loyal to the city. My fate is in your hands,” he said.
Harter’s Fox Valley said lowering prices on an already submitted quote is “unethical” and said this has happened in other communities where Harter’s bid for jobs.
Council members such as Edwards said Graichen Sanitation has a long history with the city.
She said the family-owned company is a local one that also spends money when in the city, whether at convenience stations or restaurants.
Edwards said the company provides exceptional service and that other residents in her ward agree.
During the last several months, the city has made many changes and has not always stayed with who it had in the past.
In some cases, the city did decide to go with a higher bid to keep the business local, she said.
“I will support staying with Graichen,” Edwards said.
Brunner said it is unethical for a company to talk to the city’s administration prior to submitting a quote and say the city will have problems with the bid it receives from another company.
As someone who bids on projects himself, Brunner said he does not appreciate someone talking behind someone else’s back.
When Rasmussen asked Graichen why the company’s bid was not submitted like it should have been, Graichen said he presumed the city was seeking the same type of quote it had in the past.