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Kent City Council selects Allied Waste for new garbage contract

John Egan Jr. drives an Allied Waste recycling truck last summer. The Kent City Council on March 16 selected Allied Waste over two other companies to receive the city
John Egan Jr. drives an Allied Waste recycling truck last summer. The Kent City Council on March 16 selected Allied Waste over two other companies to receive the city's new garbage and recycling contract starting next year.
— image credit: Charles Cortes, Kent Reporter

Kent city staff has started negotiations with Allied Waste to receive a new seven-year contract starting in April 2011 to provide garbage and recycling services to residents and commercial customers.

The City Council voted 4-0 after an executive session at the March 16 Council meeting to authorize staff to pursue a contract with Allied Waste. The Council picked Allied Waste over proposals submitted by Waste Management and CleanScapes.

Changes in garbage rates and services for residents and business owners won't be known until after the city and Allied Waste complete negotiations later this year on the new contract. If the two sides fail to reach a contract agreement, the city could go back and pick one of the other companies.

"We are thrilled to have been selected by the city of Kent to continue to service Kent residents and businesses," said Chris Guimond, Allied Waste of Kent general manager, in a March 19 e-mail. "We have been a long-standing member of this community and are proud to call this our home. We will remain committed to the continuation of outstanding service and more importantly our community engagement."

The city's current contracts with Allied Waste and Waste Management expire on March 31, 2011. Under separate contracts with the city, Allied Waste currently provides residential service while Waste Management serves commercial customers.

"All three bids were excellent," Council President Jamie Perry said in a phone interview March 17. "We felt (Allied) was the best bid for the community."

City staff, as well as an advisory committee with representatives from residential, multi-family, commercial and industrial solid-waste customers, each recommended that the Council pick Allied Waste, Perry said.

Allied Waste, based in Phoenix, Ariz., and Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, are large, multi-state companies that serve millions of customers. CleanScapes, a small company in Seattle, received garbage collection contracts in the last two years in Shoreline and portions of the city of Seattle.

"City staff and the companies put in an incredible amount of work," said Perry, who also praised the work of the volunteer advisory committee. "They spent over a year working on this."

Council members Elizabeth Albertson and Les Thomas missed the Council meeting and the vote on the garbage contract because of illness.

Councilwoman Debbie Raplee recused herself from the vote because of a possible conflict of interest. Raplee's husband works as a driver in Seattle for Republic Services. Republic merged in 2008 with Allied Waste to create the second-largest U.S. trash-hauling company behind Waste Management.

Proposals from all three companies included the purchase of new natural-gas trucks to serve the city.

City staff recommended every week garbage collection with every other week recycling and every other week yard and food waste collection.

City officials set goals to find a company that offers the best services to reduce waste in order to help keep the Cedar Hills Landfill in Maple Valley open longer. City garbage is transported to Cedar Hills. Once that landfill fills up, garbage would need to be taken to Oregon or Eastern Washington at a much higher price.

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