Chino Hills Councilman Ray Marquez admonished his colleagues for voting to advance four trash firms to the final stage of the selection process when they were the most expensive of the seven proposals.

The City Council voted 3-1 on Tuesday to advance Republic Services, Burrtec, Athens, and Waste Management, with Mayor Brian Johsz declaring a financial conflict of interest because he is employed by Athens as the director of government affairs. 

The four companies were recommended by city staff and the city attorney’s office based on an analysis performed by HF&H consulting firm, an expert in the solid waste industry.

Councilman Marquez voted against the proposal, preferring Valley Vista Services and Urbaser/American Reclamation, neither of which were chosen, for their lower costs to the city and high trash diversion rates.

Urbaser/American Reclamation’s first year rate revenue is $8,075,000 with a 51 percent diversion rate and Valley Vista’s is $10,257,000 with the highest diversion rate of all, at 56 percent. 

In comparison, the city’s existing trash hauler Republic Services was the second highest bidder at $12,885,000 with a 30 percent diversion rate. The highest bidder was Burrtec with an estimated first year rate revenue of $13,483,000 with a 40 percent diversion rate. 

Councilman Marquez said a big challenge facing Chino Hills and other cities is Senate Bill 1383 that establishes statewide targets to reduce the amount of organic waste disposed of in landfills with a 75 percent reduction by 2025. 

“With SB 1383, we’re supposed to divert waste from the landfills,” he said. “Two of the firms that are being recommended have diversion rates in the 30 percent range.” The two firms are Athens and Republic Services.

Athens Services’ first year rate revenue is $11,242,000 with a 33 percent diversion rate and Waste Management’s first year rate revenue is $10,582,000 with a 40 percent diversion rate.

Rates for residents

Residents would pay the following per month the first year: $34.87 for Burrtec, $27.89 for Athens, $26.50 for Waste Management, $26.30 for Republic Services (current rate is $25.02 per month), $25.78 for Ware, $24.60 for Valley Vista Services, and $18.82 for Urbaser/American Reclamation.

Rates would have an automatic annual cost of living increase during the seven-year contract.

Resident Don Foster said there is no accountability on how much trash is generated by residents. 

“I have a meter for electricity, I have a meter for water, and I have a meter for gas,” he said. “When are we going to get a meter for trash?” 

Several residents spoke on behalf of Athens.

Councilman Marquez said he believes Valley Vista Services would have been a great community partner. 

“The trash hauler we have today is not really actively involved in our community,” he said. “I don’t see them as a community partner.”

He added, “We should have looked at this a little harder. We’re talking about millions of dollars separating the lowest and highest bidders.”

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(1) comment


Lowest Cost Not Always Best Value.

I have typically found the Champion's articles regarding City Council discussions to be well balanced. However, I feel that the article concerning Councilman Marquez's comments did the readers a disservice by oversimplifying a complex issue. For example, the article could have provided a link or at least referenced the 102 page analysis provided by the City's consultant which was summarized in the Agenda Report provided to the Council. Also not mentioned in the article, but included in the Agenda report, is information that the lowest bidder Urbaser/AR and Ware (the second lowest bidder) had Workers' Compensation Experience Modification Rates (EMR) that were worse than industry standard. All other bidders had EMRs that were better than industry standard. Shouldn't the selected Franchisee have a Workers' Compensation rating that is at least equal to if not better than industry standard?

My review of the Agenda Report summary of the detailed report (as well as the 102 page detailed report) noted another key factor that was not mentioned in the Agenda Report or in the Champion article: under the proposed new contract, the selected Francisee will be responsible for monthly billing of trash service cost to residential and multi-family customers. This service is provided currently by the City (reference Attachment 1, page 1-3 of the 102 page report). I hope that whichever Franchisee is ultimately selected will be able to handle taking over this administrative task without charging the City extra for this service. In summary, this is a complex issue that demands a thorough analysis, which the staff and consultant have endeavored to provide. The Council must weigh many factors, not just total dollar cost, in arriving at a decision that will be in the best interests of the citizens of Chino HIlls. I encourage the Champion to follow this topic in more detail as the City pursues a final decision.

Tom Smith

Chino Hills

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