The city of Killeen’s solid waste service will officially go out for bid next week, ending more than a year of back and forth among Killeen City Council members over the future of the troubled enterprise.
At the council’s workshop Tuesday, City Manager Ron Olson said staff completed its in-house Request for Proposals document and was planning to advertise the request twice before a pre-proposal conference for possible bidders Feb. 28.
Olson said the city had already received feedback from businesses about the request.
“We have had some interest in the proposals,” he said. “We do anticipate getting good responses to the RFP.”
The proposals will be due to the city’s purchasing department March 16, Olson said. The council is expected to discuss the bids at a workshop session April 17 before making a final decision to outsource or maintain city control.
The service became the target of possible outsourcing in August 2016, when the council voted to end the city’s struggling curbside recycling program. In December 2016, council approved a Request for Qualifications for engineering firms to draft a bidding document for the service, but the council later tabled a contract with SCS Engineers to draft the request in March.
At the council’s request, Olson then spent eight months streamlining the city’s residential and commercial service to increase efficiency and allow the department to compete fairly with private enterprise.
On Nov. 28, Olson presented a vastly improved solid waste service back to the council, saying city staff had lowered the average cost of residential services per customer per month to $14.67 — a drop of $3.98 or 21.4 percent.
Despite the improvements, the council reached a 5-2 consensus to accept private bids, arguing the city should exercise all options to provide better service at lower costs to residents — and possibly bring back the curbside recyling program.
However, sparring could resurface when the council meets to discuss the proposals in April.
During discussion Nov. 28, Councilwoman Debbie Nash-King chafed at the decision to bid out, saying staff had gone “above and beyond” to make the department as efficient as possible.
Nash-King and Councilman Juan Rivera were the two dissenting votes in the consensus.
In other business Tuesday, the council received drafts of the city’s proposed policy packages on council protocol and a capital improvements plan.
The two packages will act as single-source reference documents for policies governing the capital improvement prioritization process, and the framework governing the council’s rules of order, interaction with city staff and more.
While the council did not discuss the two policies at length, the drafts will go back before the council at a workshop session in two weeks.
On Tuesday, the council also:
Discussed continued pavement failures on Stagecoach Road and the reappointment of municipal judge Mark Kimball in executive session.
Discussed calling May 5 elections for three at-large City Council and mayoral seats, and two amendments to the City Charter.