By Kathleen Sloan
Truth or Consequences City Manager Juan Fuentes told city commissioners at the Tuesday, April 10, meeting that the city’s Request For Proposals is a modified version of the City of Artesia’s, which is also contracting out solid waste hauling services.
Commissioners met an hour before the meeting for a workshop on the RFP, hoping to have a workable document they could approve, which was on the agenda.
It was not to be.
Commissioners ended up tabling the document, which required half a dozen changes. A special meeting will be held soon to review a new draft.
Public comment was allowed on the RFP during the workshop and during the regular meeting.
The first amendment discussed concerned the still unknown volume of trash to be hauled, which will determine the number of trips the hauler will make. The more trips, the better the contractor will be able to pay for equipment.
The contractor is asked to provide “one tractor 2005 or newer model; one trailer yard jockey; three 53-foot aluminum walking floor transfer trailers with tarps and necessary equipment and supplies necessary (tarps, tie-down straps, wet kit, etc.).”
South Central Solid Waste Authority Executive Director Patrick Peck priced new equipment for a tabled Memorandum of Agreement that organization is offering Truth or Consequences, which hauling service would cost about $363,500 per year, $30,285 per month or $45.68 per ton. That estimate is based on 9,360 people, however, and the city will probably be going it alone. The city’s current population is about 6,400.
Peck did a second pricing estimate based on 12,521 people, which gets the per-ton price down to $41.16.
Elephant Butte voted to remain with New Mexico Waste Services last week. Williamsburg voted about a month ago to also keep services with that company. Sierra County did not make a definitive decision at their meeting last week, but did decide to go with the least expensive option, and county Development Coordinator Sandy Jones had two less-expensive options.
Peck broke out two pieces of equipment in his estimate. A new 2012 International tractor would cost $110,000, and a new 2012 Wilkens 53-foot walking floor trailer would cost about $127,000.
Mayor John Mulcahy pointed out, “It’s about half the trash” that Peck’s figures estimate. But the cost of the equipment is still about a quarter of million dollars.
Commissioner Jeff Richter said the RFP’s request for a minimum of 10 and maximum of 12 hauls per week was not realistic, and suggested making the contract time period four, not two years to allow a prospective bidder time to pay for equipment.
It was agreed the revised RFP will have different and lower minimum hauls guaranteed and be for four years.
Commissioner Freddie Torres asked that the city price what it would cost “to do it ourselves. You’re getting rid of the middleman.”
The board agreed, and City Manager Fuentes was tasked with pricing that before the RFP is awarded.
Green warned fellow-commissioners and staff that bonding and licensing for haulers under the New Mexico Environment Department are required, and those were added to Fuentes’ homework.
“Who owns the trash, when,” was another issue Green brought up. Liability for a load lost on the highway or catching fire were warnings given by Peck at the last solid waste workshop. Green also wanted to ensure that the city can pull recyclables and by extension money streams from trash brought to the center, and the city must own it until it is loaded and packed into the trailer.
The liability and ownership issues will be incorporated in the revised version.
The special meeting to discuss the trash-hauling RFP has been scheduled for Thursday, April 19. There will be a work session at 5:30 p.m., to discuss this RFP and to define the scope of the city’s comprehensive plan update. A special meeting will follow to take action on those items.