Curbside recycling will continue in Emmetsburg at the same cost for the next five years. City Council representatives approved a curbside recycling contract renewal with Shamrock Recycling, Inc. at their meeting Monday night.
Mike Flannegan, owner of Shamrock Recycling, Inc., had submitted a contract renewal to the City Council at their March 8 meeting. Even though the contract for recycling services was not due to expire until July 31, 2012, Flannegan was seeking an early renewal so he could update his schedule for increased business. His contract renewal was made available to the council and to the public on March 8.
Also at that March 8 meeting it was announced that Horizons Unlimited was preparing a proposal for curbside recycling pickup. The council tabled action at the March 8 meeting, giving Horizons the opportunity to formally submit a contract proposal.
Flannegan's contract with the City of Emmetsburg is $1.85 per household per month for twice a month collection. There will be no price increase for the service being provided.
"We will continue to deliver all recycling items collected within the city limits to Horizons Unlimited as long as they continue to process recycling products," Flannegan said in his proposal. He added, "As in the past contract, if the city would ever want to change to a weekly collection that rate would also remain the same at $3.20 per household per month. This option can be added at any time during this contract extension."
The proposed three-year contract from Horizons Unlimited came in at $1.80 per residence, per month. That cost is 5-cents lower per residence than the contract extension from Shamrock Recycling.
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"Mike (Flannegan) raised a number of concerns," City Administrator John Bird told the council. "He was placed at a disadvantage. He submitted a proposal to extend his contract with the city, including price. Horizons subsequently submitted a proposal that was 5-cents less per month per residence. We did not put out a request for proposals, not knowing this was going to come up."
At Monday's meeting, Flannegan said he had expressed his concerns to the council and administration, noting that he had not seen the Horizons proposal.
"My biggest driving force here, I want to expand what we already recycle," said Deb Davis, Associate Director at Horizons Unlimited. "There's a lot more things that we take to the landfill that can be recycled and that we can pick up curbside. We are a training center. We could train some of our individuals to learn this field. Then maybe they would be able to go out in the world and get a job. Our biggest goal is to really increase the amount of recycling that we can pick up different things that we're not already doing plus get what's going there now because people are not recycling or informed."
Flannegan told the council that Shamrock Recycling has been delivering to Horizons.
"I guess if there is anything else that they have been accepting, we've never been notified that they are accepting it," he said. "It's not like we can't pick it up."
Councilman Corey Gramowski stated, "Horizons is a non-profit. I, for one, hate to see a business owner losing business to a non-profit. It happens a lot and that's not always right. We represent everyone and I think we need to keep it the way it is."
Councilman Steve Finer added, "At the very least, I think Mike was wronged by the way it was done. I've never had a complaint with him. He's always been real reasonable, real prompt and getting it done. I would think at the very least we'd want to give him another offer."
Councilman Tony Kauten agreed with Finer. "I think he (Mike Flannegan) was put at a competitive disadvantage to go ahead and have this proposal put out there and then have a chance to take a look at that and see where things are at. He needs a chance to put together another proposal."
Gramowski again stated his concern about a non-profit competing against a businessman trying to make a living. "I would assume if he lost this account (with the city) it would be quite possible an employee might lose a job," he said.
Gramowski made a motion to award the curbside collection of recycling to Shamrock Recycling, Inc., as written. Second by Councilman Brian Malm.
Finer questioned whether each party should re-submit their bids.
City Administrator John Bird noted, "If you're going to re-bid, it should be this year. Had Mike increased his fees from his last contract, then maybe that would be fair."
"We could extend it out a year and then give everybody a fair shot at it," said Finer.
"My prosal is for five years, but I'd be willing to do three years," said Flannegan. "I'm not going to go shorter than that because I'm looking at other contracts."
By unanimous vote, the contract for curbside recycling was awarded to Shamrock Recycling, Inc.