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Brookhaven picks Arrow for trash pickup in 4-3 vote

A 4-3 split by the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen Tuesday night leaned in favor of an Alabama-based company for the city’s trash pickup.

During the 13-minute special-called meeting, Arrow Disposal Service Inc. was awarded the three-year contract, which begins Oct. 1. The company beat out WastePro, which currently holds the contract, and Metro Services. The county also chose Arrow earlier this month to replace WastePro for its new garbage contract.

Ward 1 Alderman Dorsey Cameron, Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore and Ward 3 Alderman Mary Wilson voted against the motion to hire ADSI, which was made by Ward 4 Alderman Jason Snider and seconded by Alderwoman-at-Large Karen Sullivan.

Ward 5 Alderman Fletcher Grice and Ward 6 Alderwoman Shelley Harrigill voted in favor of the action.

Mayor Joe Cox read from a prepared statement before making his recommendation for ADSI before Snider made his motion. Representatives from the three companies were present but did not speak.

He explained the process began in April with a request for proposals, which, unlike bids for services, allows the city and vendor to negotiate the terms and cost of the contract. The city does not have to accept the lowest proposal, but rather, can opt for the proposal the Board of Aldermen believes is in the best interest of the city.

That’s what the majority of aldermen did through their vote for ADSI, even though the company will charge the city a higher rate for once-a-week collection.

“It is important to note that the City of Brookhaven has made every effort to have a fair and open exchange of information for the vendors as well as the Board of Aldermen,” Cox said. “This process has guaranteed each vendor due process and fairness in the award of the contract.  Ultimately, our goal is to guarantee that the decision of the City of Brookhaven in selection of a vendor for the collection of household waste and garbage is neither arbitrary nor capricious, but based on substantial evidence.”

He went on to say the specific terms of the proposals — cost of their services, the ability of the vendor to deliver the service, the financial standing of the company based upon their financial statements, and the terms of their contract — were the primary variables in this process. 

Cox recommended ADSI.

“My decision is based upon a detailed examination of the financial condition of the company, the contract they have provided and the needs of the City of Brookhaven,” he said.

He said all three companies’ financial data was submitted to the city’s auditor for analysis and each was considered financially viable to meet the demands for the collection of household garbage and waste. However, he said he felt that because the contract submitted by ADSI featured a detailed process for handling complaints — with the vendor submitting a written summary report on the complaints — they were the better choice.

“Their contract also includes the assessment of liquidated damages for failure to remedy a valid violation. The liquidated damages would be deducted from payments due the vendor,” he said.

WastePro also has a contractual provision for liquidated payment of damages.

Cox said ADSI has a track record in Mississippi as the collection service for several other municipalities. He recently spoke to Indianola’s mayor about the company.

“I have examined the cost factors and the frequency of collection for household waste and garbage. I realize that Arrow Disposal Services is charging the higher rate for once a week collection in the City of Brookhaven. However, when I considered all the factors together, I believe that based on the totality of factors and circumstances, Arrow Disposal Services offers the best proposal for the City of Brookhaven, he said.

Moore asked if Cox checked references for Metro as well.

He did.

“We were concerned that basically, they do not have any contracts in Mississippi at this point,” he said. “Metro is a very favorable group, but we felt like they needed some experience in our state. They did not have a Mississippi contract at this point.”

“You’ve got to start somewhere, right?” Moore said.

The second-year alderman argued that Metro is serving New Orleans, which is closer to Brookhaven than Indianola.

“How far is that from Brookhaven?” Moore asked.

“That has nothing to do with it,” Cox responded.

“And New Orleans is right down the road,” Moore added.

“That has nothing to do with this either,” Cox continued.

Snider said Arrow’s contract “has teeth in it,” which he preferred.

He liked that the company can be held accountable for throwing cans in the street or missing pickups.

“Which speaks volumes for the company,” he said.

ADSI will pickup trash once a week, but the city can renegotiate that to twice-a-week if that’s needed. Cox said Arrow will honor the rate quoted in the RFP.

In the RFPs, ADSI proposed $11.50 per household for once-a-week pick up and $15 for twice a week. Metro proposed $10.16 for once and $12.83 for twice. The current contract-holder, Waste Pro, proposed $10.92 for once and $11.46 for twice.

Their current cost of garbage pickup for the city is $12.34 for twice a week pickup.

ADSI’s per-household costs are not the final costs that customers will see, as other fees and expenses are added to garbage bills.

In a testimonial on ADSI’s website, Indianola Mayor Steve Rosenthal said, “The price of garbage collection is important but service is the difference between happy citizens and angry phone calls. The only calls you will receive if ADSI is providing your service will be compliments.”