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Palm Coast Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021 1 month ago

Palm Coast will start new search for garbage contractor, tossing out haulers' bids

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Waste Pro challenged the bid process, saying that a competitor didn't disclose required information. The city determined that the requirements hadn't been stated clearly.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Waste Pro, Palm Coast’s trash hauler for the past 15 years, has been repeatedly fined by the city government for missed and delayed pickups, racking up more than $50,000 in fees so far this year. 

Its contract is set to end in 2022, and city government staff were prepared to recommend that the city contract with another company — FCC Environmental, the only hauler aside from Waste Pro that submitted a bid — even though FCC’s listed prices are higher. 

But Waste Pro has now challenged the bid process, leading the city to start the process again, according to a news release from the city government.

The city went out for bid last August with a request for proposal, collecting bids only from FCC Environmental Services and from Waste Pro before the Sept. 30 deadline.

A committee of city staff members evaluated the two haulers’ proposals. 

For equivalent levels of service, Waste Pro’s bid was lower, although it would still be an increase for customers. For service equal to the twice-a-week pickup it’s providing now for $20.36 a month, Waste Pro’s latest quote was for $26.47.

City staff decided that the city's requirements, as stated in a request for proposal, were unclear. The city is rejecting both bids and starting over.

FCC Environmental Services’ price was $33.84 for the same service.

FCC Environmental and Waste Pro also each provided quotes for three other service levels, including once-weekly pickup. 

Both of them gave rates for once-a-week pickup that exceed the current rates residents pay for twice-a-week pickup.

The city’s evaluation committee, which “focused on experience, prior performance, and implementation plans,” according to the city news release, was prepared to submit its suggestions in favor of FCC Environmental to the Palm Coast City Council in January. 

But Waste Pro preempted that by filing a bid protest: Waste Pro attorney Amy Tingley wrote in the Nov. 12 document that FCC’s bid had failed to disclose fines levied against FCC for performance issues in Polk County, and should therefore be rejected. 

The omission, Tingley wrote, “was a cornerstone of FCC’s presentation and material to its first place ranking, despite being the more expensive option compared to Waste Pro.”

The city’s RFP had required that haulers’ bids disclose if “administrative fines, liquidated damages or other penalties were assessed or were deducted from the proposer’s payments under a contract with a city, county or governmental entity for collection services and such fines exceeded ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in one month.”

When city staff reviewed Waste Pro’s bid challenge, staff decided that the city’s requirements as stated in the request for proposal “didn’t capture all of the differing terminology currently used by governments to evaluate all forms of performance incentives and penalties by solid waste companies.”

The city’s official notice of rejection states that both haulers “failed to provide the city with the information it needs to evaluate the proposals.”

“It has been determined that the required information regarding administrative fines, liquidated damages or other penalties deducted under existing government contracts was omitted from the proposals received,” the city news release stated.

The city is therefore rejecting both bids and starting over, planning to use clearer language in its RFP.

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