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Trash hauling savings entices Newport

The only city in Orange County still reliant on staff to haul garbage considers outsourcing to save up to $17 million.

September 05, 2013|By Emily Foxhall

The last city in Orange County where city employees continue to pick up residents' trash may soon change its practices.

Newport Beach could save as much as $17 million over the next seven years if trash services are outsourced, according to an independent examination of 14 options released Thursday.

Private waste companies already service the newer and more recently annexed sections of the city, such as Sana Ana Heights, Bay Knolls, Newport Ridge and Newport Coast, as well as certain multiple-family apartment and condo complexes.

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The city solicited requests for proposals in May. Interested companies could submit proposals for one or both types of trash services: Under one option, residents could put recycleable items into a separate bin. The other option would require trash and recycling be placed together and sorted later by the company, as is done now.

When ranked by savings, CR&R Waste Services was No. 1 with its proposal that included an at-home recycling option. Ware Disposal Co. ranked No. 2 with a proposal that did not include the at-home recycling possibility. The Costa Mesa Sanitary District contracts with CR&R.

The expected costs need to be more closely analyzed and compared with the rates in other cities, said Jennifer Muir, spokesman for the Orange County Employees Assn.

She added that she was doubtful of the $17-million savings projected from the leading CR&R proposal.

"I just don't think that, on its face, this shiny number is plausible," Muir said.

The examination of proposals compared them to information provided by the Newport Beach Employees League, which is part of OCEA.

The league is not technically a bidder but represents the employees who currently pick up the trash. When compared, the league's plan that included recyling ranked ninth while its plan that defers recyling came in at No. 12.

A closer examination of the various offers is warranted in the face of such a "stunning" amount, said Newport Mayor Keith Curry, referring to the $17 million figure.

City staff members plan to recommend that the City Council review the options, pick one of the two types and direct them to negotiate a contract with one or two of the bidders. The finalized contract would then be returned for the council's consideration.

Regardless, the quality of service will not change, Curry said.

"This service will be identical to what you have now, only better," he said of contracting the work.

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