Flint awards $20 million trash hauling contract to Priority Waste

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 12:14 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - One day after the city of Flint approves a contract with a new trash collection company, a Flint resident shared his frustrations with the outgoing provider.

“They’re here sometimes and sometimes they’re not,” he said. “You know they come and when they come they come late.” said Flint resident

Optimism among residents is high for the new trash provider. The city inked a three year deal with Priority Waste. Final approval came Tuesday night when the city council voted five to four in favor of the new contract.

Trash collection has been at the center of controversy for months in the city. Current provider Republic Services is leaving at the end of the month. Flint is moving forward with the new company even though it was not the lowest bidder.  

Republic Services was out in the city of Flint picking up trash Wednesday afternoon. Their contract with the city expires at the end of the month. On Oct. 1, a new provider takes over.

“Priority Waste is going to be our new garbage contractor,” said Eva Worthing, a Councilwoman for Flint’s 9th Ward.

A late-night Tuesday meeting the City Council narrowly approved a contract with Priority Waste. Worthing was one of the yes votes.        

“Even though Green for Life Environmental was the lowest bidder the administration felt that they (Priority Waste) would be more responsible and so did I,” said Worthing.

The new three year contract is going to cost the city just under $20 million. The city’s director of public works said that if they had gone with Green for Life Environmental, it would have saved the city roughly $1.4 million over the life of the contract. But, cost isn’t the only consideration when selecting service providers.

“It was in the bid procedures that it is the lowest and the most responsible,” said Worthing. 

Priority Waste is now responsible for 34,000 stops in Flint. The new company is still going to collect on the normal pickup days. One change for residents is both recycling and yard waste will go out with the regular trash.        

 “So, your residents won’t need to put it out on multiple days or every other week,” said Dan Venet, Director of Municipalities for Priority Waste.

Venet says his company has not been impacted by the labor shortage like others.  He anticipates a smooth transition in the vehicle city.

”We’ve been able to attract and retain our employees that we have and add extra new as needed as demanded. We are an essential business and we had to figure it out and I’m very proud of our operations and team as they’ve been able to figure it out,” he said.

The contract allows Priority Waste the option to extend the contract for an additional two years beyond 2024.

The change in residential trash haulers comes after Republic Services declined to work with the city and negotiations fell through. Flint City Council members are planning an investigative hearing on that contract bidding process at 4 p.m. Thursday.

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