Leon County signed a six-year $30 million contract with Waste Management, INC. last month, but a few weeks later concern from incoming Commissioner John Dailey sparked the question of why the contract never went up for bid. Some commissioners admitted that should have been their first move.
Dan Winchester, District 3 Commissioner, said, "If I had to do it all over again I probably would've put it to RFP."
Jane Sauls, District 2 Commissioner, agreed and said, "That's where we made the mistake, is not putting it out to bid."
As the contract came up for renewal, Leon County residents started coming out with complaints about Waste Management's service. The county also admitted Tuesday night that those complaints were never made official, so a breach of contract could not be substantiated.
Bill Proctor, Board Chairman, said, "We have no established pattern, no paper trail, nothing we have done to register we were displeased."
Legally bound to the new contract, a majority of the commission decided to continue with Waste Management with conditions service improve.
Commissioner Sauls told WMI representatives, "Our citizens have legitimate concerns. We're going to hold your feet to the fire and we expect you to do a better job."
In the contract, if there are enough substantiated complaints the county could fine WMI and even claim a breach of contract and have it revoked. But Commissioner Robert Rackleff said he doesn't buy that.
“That's just such nonsense, that's just bull. We're not going to enforce that contract and if we try to, then Waste Management would threaten to sue and most of the commissioners would run screaming from the room," he said.
Trash collection rates will go up for county residents beginning in April when the new contract goes into effect. The new rates are $16.62 per month, a $7.15 increase over the current rate.
Waste Management says the current rate has been consistent since 1996.