• September 20, 2014

Is Killeen recycling contract ‘David vs. Goliath’?

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Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 4:30 am

Four companies are vying to collect on the city’s lucrative recycling contract, and one local business owner said taxpayers may get a rotten deal if the city goes with the favored Austin-based recycling company.

The Killeen City Council will be presented with four proposals tonight to mull over as the city moves forward with a citywide recycling plan that would replace the current limited recycling program that collects about 7,200 tons of recyclables annually.

The council received the proposals at a special workshop Jan. 14, but requested more information.

According to the proposal request, the city sought proposals from “qualified firms to provide processing and marketing of recyclable materials collected via the city’s proposed single-stream curb-side recycling program.”

Single-stream recycling means residents don’t have to separate the materials.

Four companies are vying for the contract: Austin-based Balcones Resources; Austin-based Texas Disposal Systems; Killeen-based Centex Metals; and WILCO, located just outside of Austin.

Michael Cleghorn, the city’s director of solid waste services, said the four proposals were ranked numerically in 10 categories by a committee that reviewed them individually.

The proposals were ranked by experience and quality, weighted at 15 percent of the total score; fiscal impact, weighted at 20 percent; and location, weighted at 20 percent. Long-term facility and public education were each weighted at 10 percent; and plan and timeline, financial capability, quality of reports, completeness and response to the city’s proposal were weighted at 5 percent each.

Balcones ranked the highest with 82.86 percent, WILCO was next with 69.86 percent, Centex Metals was ranked at 66.64 percent and Texas Disposal Systems at 63.74 percent.

Cleghorn said the committee recommended Balcones because the company recognizes the value in the city’s “closed market, collection equipment and the current way of doing business.”

Dick Young, of locally owned Centex Metals, said the company agreed in its proposal to pay the city $60 per ton of recyclables collected, and the city’s recommendation to award the contract to Balcones makes him “feel like David fighting Goliath.”

“The bottom line is we currently do business with the city, paying 3 cents per pound for plastic,” he said. “Balcones would pay one-third cent for the same plastic that I’m already paying 3 cents for. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Young said his proposal to pay the city $60 per ton for recyclables would line the city’s pockets with a minimum of $361,000 annually.

“The city collects the recyclables, drops them on a slab at the old transfer station and Centex does the rest,” he said.

“Centex offered to rent the transfer station for $1,125 per month from the city. ... I can’t believe it’s this hard for local businesses to do business in Killeen.”

Young said even if the contract isn’t awarded to Centex Metals, he wants “the citizens to get the best deal.”

“I feel like David fighting Goliath. We’re the little guy, the hometown guy,” he said. “We’re here, we want to take care of it.”

Ryan Hobbs, Texas Disposal Systems’ business development specialist, said their proposal would offer the city more money for more recyclables taken in.

“We would pay (the city) a rebate per ton that started at $1.99 per ton (and go up to) $4.99 per ton for higher tonage amounts,” he said. “For 300 to 400 tons per month at $1.99 per ton. The higher the tons went, the higher the rebate would be.”

Rick Fraumann, Texas Disposal Systems’ director of sales, said, like Centex Metals, they proposed using the city’s existing transfer station.

“In the RFP (request for proposal), one of the stated goals was not to add any costs, so what we talked about was to utilize the existing transfer station that the city is utilizing for its waste,” he said. “We showed them some ways to save a substantial amount of money in the processing of the cost by utilizing its existing facility.”

Fraumann said although the Texas Disposal Systems facility is “a little farther,” the city will save because the recycling facility doesn’t have fees like the landfill does.

Both Fraumann and Young said they plan to attend the council workshop meeting tonight.

Representatives for Balcones and WILCO couldn’t be reached for comment Monday. It is unclear what their proposals contain.

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