Tensions ran high at Tuesday night’s Killeen City Council workshop meeting over the city’s lucrative recycling contract.
City staff presented the council with its plan to implement a citywide single-stream recycling program, which will allow residents to put their recyclables in one can rather than separating them before placing the bin curbside like the current program.
The council did not take any action regarding the matter, but it did reach a consensus to allow City Manager Glenn Morrison to enter into contract negotiations with Balcones.
Requests for proposals were sent out Sept. 1. The city received proposals from four companies — Balcones Resources, Centex Metals, Texas Disposal Systems and WILCO Recycling. The city recommended the council endorse Balcones.
Scott Osburn, public works director, said Centex Metals withdrew its contract this week.
The city also presented the council with a proposed fee structure at its Jan. 14 meeting that includes residents receiving a 96-gallon trash cart and a 96-gallon recycle cart for $20.89 per month, but the rate is pending the city completing a rate study and solid waste master plan.
Councilman Jonathan Okray said he thinks the city should complete the rate study before the council is asked to endorse a provider.
“I think we are about to buy the car without knowing how much it’s going to cost,” he said. “We are talking about a rate study. We don’t know how much it is going to cost. The rate study is going to tell us how much it will truly cost.”
Mayor Dan Corbin told Okray that didn’t “make any sense.”
Councilman Jared Foster said he believes the city is going about the process in the right way.
“(A) rate study is primarily concerned with determining the retail price of solid waste collection and what we are going to have to charge,” he said. “The selection of a provider in the (request for proposal) process is something that we have to do first so that we can determine what the actual costs are going to be to us, so that we can know what our options are.”
Okray raised his hand to ask a question as Corbin was taking a consensus. Okray said the move was “so awkward” because he had his hand up to ask a question “before the consensus.”
Councilman Steve Harris called a point of order, which was overruled by Corbin who said it was moot because the consensus had already been taken.
“My point of order was that (Okray) had a question and (Corbin) bypassed his question to take a consensus before he got an opportunity to ask his question,” Harris said.
Corbin said once a contract is negotiated and a rate study completed, then the council will make decisions regarding cart options and fee structures.