Calexico Council to Consider Another Trash Contract with Republic/Allied

The Calexico City Council was expected on Sept. 18 to consider a new 10-year agreement for trash hauling, recycling services and street sweeping with long-time city provider Republic/Allied Waste. The meeting was held after this newspaper’s deadline. The proposed agreement would include options for two five-year extensions. It would also greatly expand some of the services Republic provides to the city, including downtown street sweeping, which the council sees an integral element to its effort to revive the embattled retail area. The new agreement between the city and Republic does not involve any rate increase for customers, Calexico Mayor Bill Hodge said, so residents will see no change on their city water and sewer bill in which trash-hauling fees are included. According to information in the agenda, any future rate increase for trash collection would be tied to the Consumer Price Index, with a cap not to exceed four percent in one year or be less than one percent. The city has contracted with Republic since December 1997. Previous councils have approved several new contracts and extensions, City Manager David Dale reported in the Sept. 18 council agenda. The current 10-year contract will expire Dec. 31. With that date looming, the council in March rejected a request by city officials to hire a consultant to prepare a bid process for trash hauling and recycling services. Instead, the council directed Dale to hammer out a new agreement with Republic/Allied. During that meeting, council members expressed their fondness for Republic. Mayor Bill Hodge, then mayor pro tem, said the company had become an integral part of the community. In addition to the standard weekly collection of garbage, recyclables, bulky waste and organics, the city negotiated an expanded street-sweeping program. Under the new contract, Republic would provide downtown cleaning services, such as pressure washing sidewalks, for four hours a day, Mondays through Fridays, at no additional cost to the city. Also, Republic would provide and operate two street sweepers and one backup street sweeper to sweep downtown every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as both sides of every city street outside of the downtown, twice a month. That’s a big change from what the city now does, operating just one street-sweeper that is “nearing the end of its life expectancy and is unable to sweep each city street even once monthly,” according to a report from Dale. The expanded street-sweeping program does come with a $245,000 annual cost, but Dale’s report states that will be covered by Highway Users Tax Account funds paid to the city by the state. According to Dale’s report, the new agreement would benefit the city’s general fund. Republic would pay a monthly “franchise fee” to the city equal to 12 percent of the company’s gross receipts for collection services. In addition, the firm would also pay the city $70,000 in the first year of the contract, an amount that would increase each year that customer rates increase. That would help fund a half-time city staff position dedicated to an unspecified duty in the downtown area. Other features of the new contract include a $50,000 annual payment to the city’s Vehicle Impact Fee fund to “offset direct impacts to the city roads and streets”; $1,300 per year from Republic for three scholarships; and Republic-organized community cleanup events. In other business, the council was expected to consider a 10-year lease agreement with the De Anza Hotel Limited Partnership (Chelsea Asset Corp.) for the Carmen Durazo Cultural Arts Center. A lease between the former Calexico Redevelopment Agency and De Anza for the building expired in February 2014. At its Sept. 4 meeting, the council approved funding for needed improvements at Carmen Durazo, including replacing the air conditioner. Those improvements, however, cannot be funded without a new long-term lease. The De Anza Hotel partnership has agreed to lease the arts center building to the city for 10 years at a cost of $1 per year, according the council agenda. The council was also expected to consider buying a tractor from Empire Machinery for use at the water and wastewater treatment plants. The cost of $191,082 is already in the budget, split between the water and wastewater enterprise funds.

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