ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is delaying the bidding process for the city's new universal curbside recycling service after a council member raised concerns that it wouldn't be competitive enough.
The request for bids was scheduled to go out to private trash haulers today.
But the Tampa Bay Times reported Friday that council member Darden Rice feared that some trash haulers wouldn't seek the work if the city combined processing and collection into one contract.
Separating the procedures produced lower prices for Hillsborough County in 2013.
Mike Connors, the city's public works administrator, said Monday the mayor asked him to rethink the city's approach.
"We're looking at ways to split the processing and collection to promote competitive advantages," Connors said.
Rice applauded the delay and said it will result in more competitive bids.
City lawyers are finalizing the requests for proposals, but Connors didn't know when they would be released.
They could still be tweaked, he said.
With one major trash hauler, Waste Services Inc., already operating a processing center in St. Petersburg, two other big firms would face higher costs to haul materials to their facilities in Tampa and Lakeland.
By separating the contracts, more firms would be likely to bid.
Keith Banasiak, a regional vice president for Waste Pro, also wrote city officials a letter that arrived Friday, urging them to split the bid and calling it "key to reducing costs."
Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter @markpuente.