The City of Fernandina Beach, Florida, will open a competitive bidding process for its refuse services, after the City Commission voted against allowing the city to open contract extension negotiations with Waste Management (WM), according to an article posted to the Fernandina Observer.
The city's $2.5 million contract with WM is not up until 2024, according to the resolution. City Manager Dale Martin told the Commission that he and Fleet and Facilities Maintenance Director Jeremiah Glisson discussed the matter with WM and other municipal providers, who said they needed two years' lead time due to shortages of equipment, like trucks and carts. An extension with WM would run through 2029. Martin also said he believes locking in a price now, as inflation leads to higher prices of goods and services, would benefit the city.
Commissioner Chip Ross argued WM has a track record of good service to the city, saying its quality service is a key factor in determining whether to stick with WM.
"The most important thing here is service. We can 'nickel and dime' over a dollar, two dollars. If the stuff isn't picked up, people don't care," Ross said. "This is a company that has a track record with us."
Ross also argued there are no other contractors fighting to receive a bid, saying WM might be the only contractor to place a bid.
Mayor Michael Lednovich retorted that the Commission should open up the bidding process and explore alternative options, rather than assume WM will be the only contractor to place a bid.
Vice Mayor Len Kreger said the city should discuss other possible rates with other vendors before entering into negotiations with WM. City Commissioner Bradley Bean voted against the contract extension, saying he wanted to get the city's trash service rate lower than the rate for Nassau County. Ultimately, the Commission voted 3-2 against opening the contract extension negotiations.