Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

As Tampa eyes garbage haulers, low bidder has familiar story

TAMPA — After receiving $1.2 million to settle a claim that Waste Management overcharged the city for five years, Tampa officials recently sought bids from haulers interested in picking up garbage from local businesses.

Six bids came in, and now the city intends to award a three-year contract to Republic Services of Florida — a company that was overpaid more than $1.5 million by Polk County over seven years.

At a glance, that might seem unexpected. But officials say the situations are not the same, and, in any case, haulers are eligible to compete for Tampa's business as long as they don't owe the city money and haven't been convicted of a crime such as fraud, theft or bribery involving a public entity.

That means Waste Management and Republic could bid to pick up solid waste from about 2,350 businesses in the central and northwestern parts of the city. Those businesses generate about 40 percent of Tampa's commercial solid waste. City trucks pick up the rest.

Republic submitted the lowest bid: slightly more than $5 million for three years. (Waste Management's bid was nearly $7 million, good for fifth place.)

After opening bids on March 8, the city issued a notice last week that it intends to award the contract to Republic, though other bidders can file a protest. As of Monday afternoon, none had.

Republic has two other solid waste contracts with Tampa — one to dispose of ash from Tampa's incinerator at the company's landfill in Bartow — and there have been no performance issues, said Mike Herr, the city's public works and utility services administrator.

The company said in a written statement that it wants to keep things that way.

"Republic Services has partnered with Tampa for many of its waste services, and we value our relationship with the city," it said. "If Republic is awarded this contract for Tampa's commercial solid waste collection, we will focus on meeting the needs of our customers every day."

In Polk County, an internal audit in July concluded that county officials overpaid Republic from 2006 to 2012 because vacant lots or lots where contractors had pulled building permits, but not yet built anything were included on a county-generated list of residences to be billed for solid waste pickup. Republic paid Polk $1.5 million to settle the overpayments, County Attorney Michael Craig said.

In contrast, Tampa officials say a preliminary audit showed that Waste Management overcharged the city $1.4 million from 2008 to 2012. The problems took place as some businesses closed and others opened at locations served by Waste Management, according to the city.

Individual customers were not overcharged, officials say, but Waste Management continued to bill the city for service to both the old and new businesses at the same location. Over time, charges for closed businesses drove up the city's bill.

In its defense, Waste Management says the problem started when Tampa officials provided inaccurate information at the start of the billing process.

Last month, Waste Management agreed to pay the city $1.2 million to settle the matter.

Waste Management's five-year contract with the city expired Dec. 31. Rather than renew the contract, city officials have extended it by six months at a cost of about $849,000 while they seek bids for a new contract.

City officials aim to send a new contract to the City Council for its approval on April 4.

And the next contract, Herr said, will have more controls over how often invoices are reconciled and allow more scrutiny of the process. The next vendor also will have to provide, at its expense, GPS tracking and radio-frequency identification tags so that the city can track when garbage at the addresses is picked up and assess whether a hauler is mixing in waste from noncity accounts.

"We have a lot more controls in this invitation to bid," Herr said, "which makes for a much better business relationship than we had before."

Information from the Ledger of Lakeland was used in this report.

Commercial garbage hauling bids

Six companies bid to pick up solid waste from businesses in the central and northwest parts of Tampa:

Company One-year amount Three-year total

Republic Services $1.682 million $5.046 million

WCA-Waste Corporation $1.775 million $5.325 million

Waste Services of Florida $1.847 million $5.541 million

Waste Pro $2.054 million $6.161 million

Waste Management of Florida $2.322 million $6.966 million

Advanced Disposal Solid Waste SE $2.466 million $7.399 million

Source: City of Tampa

As Tampa eyes garbage haulers, low bidder has familiar story 03/18/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 11:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. University student accused of making bomb threat on Snapchat

    Crime

    DELAND — A Florida university student is accused of making threats on Snapchat to "bomb" or "gas" the campus.

    Stetson University freshman Griffin Powell, 18, is accused of making threats on Snapchat to "bomb" or "gas" the campus in DeLand.


  2. Tiki Barber will join his brother, Ronde, on Fox broadcast for Bucs-Giants

    Bucs

    FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join …

    Tiki Barber, right, will join his brother, Ronde, left, as a guest analyst on the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants broadcast on FOX. [Times files (2006)]
  3. Cannons will fire again when Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium

    Bucs

    As good as the Bucs looked in their season-opening 29-7 win against the Bears on Sunday, fans couldn't help but notice that the success didn't sound the same at Raymond James Stadium.

     Ron Gutschmidt is perched on top of the Buccaneer pirate ship ready to activate the ship's cannons with the press of a button after a Buccaneer touchdown. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: How should Joe Maddon be remembered tonight?

    The Heater

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014 in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast. They discuss the mixed emotions …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014. [Getty Images]
  5. Watch live: President Trump's speech to the U.N. General Assembly

    World

    UNITED NATIONS — U.S. President Donald Trump and French leader Emmanuel Macron are expected to take the spotlight at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations — but it's the tough global challenges from the nuclear threat in North Korea and the plight of Myanmar's minority Muslims to the …

    President Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in New York. [Associated Press]