• December 22, 2014

Two councilmen feel ‘forced’ into quick decision on Killeen recycling

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Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014 4:30 am

As the city of Killeen continues its effort to move forward with a citywide recycling initiative, two councilmen said they feel city officials are trying to railroad the program through.

Councilman Jonathan Okray said he feels like the council is “being forced” by the city to go with its recommendation of awarding the contract to Balcones Resources, one of four companies that responded to the city’s Sept. 1 request for proposals.

“I almost feel like we are being forced to make this thing mandatory and to implement this haphazardly,” he said of a single-stream recycling program, which could increase monthly utility costs for residents. “We need to be more responsible with the people’s money. We’re not even looking, as a council, at the (request for proposals). (City staff) is just saying this is the best thing for us to do.”

Councilman Steve Harris agrees after two weeks of council workshop meetings to discuss the proposals and program implementation. A vote has yet to be taken by the council.

“In looking at how the whole thing was brought before us initially, as far as one company being mentioned, and then the other companies coming back, ... I think it’s being pushed along,” he said. “Decisions are trying to be obtained when obviously we (the council) are all not quite sure about what’s going on.”

Ranking proposals

Public Works Director Scott Osburn said the request for proposals process “is focused on selecting the entity that provides the best overall value for the city based on the weighted average ranking of key factors,” he said.

The city received proposals from Austin-based Balcones Resources, which was ranked No. 1 by a committee of seven city staffers; WILCO Recycling, located just outside Austin, came in at No. 2; Killeen-based Centex Metals was No. 3 and Austin-based Texas Disposal Systems was No. 4.

The committee — Michael Cleghorn, solid waste director; Richard Davis, residential operations specialist; Peter DiLillo, recycling manager; Terry Hardcastle, transfer station superintendent; John Nett, city engineer; Pamela Pringle, accounting supervisor; and Eddie Wallace, commercial operations superintendent — evaluated the proposals and scored them on a weighted scale. Experience and quality was weighted at 15 percent of the total score, fiscal impact at 20 percent, location at 20 percent, and long-term facility and public education were each weighted at 10 percent. Plan and timeline, financial capability, quality of reports, completeness and response to the city’s proposal were weighted at 5 percent each.

Cleghorn presented the council with the city’s recommendation to go with Balcones in a Jan. 14 special workshop meeting. The council was given all four proposals in a Tuesday workshop meeting following a request for more information.

Increasing fees?

Executing a single-stream program will likely increase fees for residents. The city is proposing a switch from its “pay-as-you-throw” system where residents pay fees depending on the size of their garbage can to a flat, citywide fee.

The increase is pending a rate study the city plans to conduct for about $130,000 following the council’s endorsement of one of the contractors.

Residents who currently use the city’s voluntary curb-sorted recycling program pay $2.48 a month for a 22-gallon recycling container. Residents with a 96-gallon garbage can pay $17.50 per month. The cost of a 64-gallon can is $15.60 per month and 32-gallon cans cost $14.38 per month.

Under the proposed system, all residents will get a 96-gallon recycling cart and a 96-gallon garbage can for a monthly base fee of $20.89.

Opposition

Okray adamantly opposes the initiative being mandated.

“I do not support the idea of imbedding rates for recycling into people’s (utility) bills,” he said. “They (the city) want to put the liability on the citizens of Killeen. ... If it’s going to be mandatory, then the city should pay for it.”

Okray said he also believes the city is going about its process to execute the program backward.

“They’re trying to rush it. ... We don’t even have a rate analysis,” he said. “The rate analysis is what we need so we can determine how much this will even cost the rate-payer. We’re talking about getting the contract before we do a rate study; that, to me, seems backward. It’s ludicrous.”

Okray said he feels the city is being “irresponsible” with the taxpayers’ money.

Harris echoed Okray’s concerns that implementing a mandatory program is “not a good idea.”

“The key thing is trying to educate the people and trying to motivate them to recycle,” he said. “I think if the public is educated and motivated then they will do it. Just because it’s made mandatory doesn’t mean that everyone is going to do it. I don’t think it’s a good idea, and it especially isn’t to charge (residents) for it at the same time.”

Harris said he recommends residents contact their council members with their concerns about the recycling program.

Attempts to contact Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone and Councilmen Jared Foster, Wayne Gilmore, Jose Segarra and Terry Clark for comment were unsuccessful.

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Welcome to the discussion.

6 comments:

  • vatoverde posted at 2:27 pm on Wed, Feb 5, 2014.

    vatoverde Posts: 1

    "Okray adamantly opposes the initiative being mandated.
    “I do not support the idea of imbedding rates for recycling into people’s (utility) bills,” he said. “They (the city) want to put the liability on the citizens of Killeen. ... If it’s going to be mandatory, then the city should pay for it.”"

    Just who does Okray think "the city" is when he states the city should pay for it instead of the citizens? Is the city some magic entity that has its own money? The "city's money" will come from the citizens anyway.

    The real issue here is that there is no more waste pre or post the new program. The real winner here is the garbage company. They should HAVE to lower their rates by some amount based on the tonnage that is moved out of their stream and into the recycling stream. If costs go up for recycling, costs should logically go down for trash.

     
  • Eliza posted at 11:45 am on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 899

    @ . Just because it’s made mandatory doesn’t mean that everyone is going to do it.--Councilman Steve Harris
    ---------------
    One of the wisest statements made concerning the mandating of a recycling fee on all citizens.
    This is another mandate that has been put upon the citizens ,they've already had their pockets picked by being told they 'have' to buy obamacare or the IRS is going to become involved in their lives.

    What's going to happen if even though people are charged the extra fee for recycling containers, but they don't use them. Is city government going to then have to collect more money to hire their own form of the IRS, to go from house to house each trash pick up day to make certain the home owner has the container out with 'something' in it?

    Let the subject of recycling remain as is, an as Old Woman below states,Ft Hood has an enormous amount of areas where your recyclables can be taken 1, at each of the commissary's as a matter of fact that take everything.
    Ad if t city insist on making the citizens bend to their will,give he service as a free service, there is going to be money made off of the citizens as it is when they turn in any recyclables.

     
  • Dr Strangelove posted at 10:32 am on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 579

    Looks like another way to stick it to us citizens. Right now very few people will pay extra money for that stupid blue box—looks like they’ve found another way to steal money from us—HEY PUT IT TO A VOTE! They won’t because the citizens will vote it down.

     
  • OldWoman posted at 8:32 am on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    OldWoman Posts: 28

    I am a strong proponent of recycling. In Germany you are not allowed to put recyclables in the general garbage. The rules are very strict, and I agree with that, But while I will always recycle, with free access to Fort Hood, I will continue supporting the military by taking my recyclables there. At least I see a return for my efforts.

     
  • RLHamilton posted at 7:36 am on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    RLHamilton Posts: 1

    So we the residents will pay for the recycling bins around 5 dollars a month.
    A none city vendor is going to take our recyclables out of the city sort them sell them for a profit, is that money coming back to the city or are the people of Killeen loosen twice. I know the Fort Hood system been are mandatory, but the program pays for its self based on sales and the profit is put back in the community. Sound like Killeen looses all around with the purposed plan.

     
  • bob57texas posted at 7:28 am on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    bob57texas Posts: 1

    I live by myself, it does not make any sense if I have to pay the same garbage fee as say a family of five. I currently have the smallest trash bin available, and there are times when I don't even bring it out on my collection day because I don't have enough trash to bother with. A lot of us are on fixed incomes and we don't need the city council rushing into any decisions that will take more money out of our already thin wallets.