For the last two years, the Town of Medley, namely Town Attorney Michael Pizzi and the attorneys at Waste Management, Inc., the landfill company in the west part of town, have worked at hammering out a long-term agreement.
Last Monday night, Dec. 3, with a brand new council led by new mayor Roberto Martell sitting in on their first meeting, a deal was struck between the two sides.
But it didn’t come without Martell playing the role of Monty Hall as he drove the WM folks even harder for a sweeter deal for the town — and got it.
The initial agreement that had been struck between Pizzi and WM representatives called for a $1.2 million interest-free loan to be paid to Medley up front, to be paid back in five years with the first payment not due until 18 months from now and an annual host fee paid to the city of $50,000.
As good as it sounded, it wasn’t good enough for Martell.
“I appreciate all the work that’s been done on this, but I’m hoping you might be able to come a little further for us,” said Martell, who then asked for $1.5 million for the town, the loan payback time frame to go from five years to seven, first payment due from 18 to 24 months and the host fee to jump to $60,000. “We’ve had a terrific relationship with Waste Management over the years and certainly want that to continue.”
“Wow, I think I’ve been squeezed so much my bones are starting to shake,” Waste Management president Alex Gonzalez said when he approached the podium. “If this is your first meeting as mayor, you’re off to a good start.”
Gonzalez and Martell then proceeded to banter back and forth in an open forum of negotiations in which Gonzalez reached out.
“How bout if I give you three of the four,” said Gonzalez. “We’ll go for the $1.5 million, the 24 months and the seven years.”
But Martell, like a good union attorney still wouldn’t quite give in.
“How bout if we go for 31⁄2,” said Martell. “We’ll meet you halfway on the host fee and settle for $55,000.”
Gonzalez shook his head from side to side and ultimately relented, agreeing to Martell’s proposal.
The council voted for it unanimously and a new agreement, which will be a sweetheart of a deal for the town, was in place. Medley ultimately will see more than an extra $500,000 go into its annual coffers with the added host fee and the deal is locked up until 2032.
“This was two years of hard work in the making and I just want to thank all of my staff, including Lina (Town Clerk Herlina Taboada) for a job well done,” said Pizzi. “You as a town have done the right thing here and all parties are going to be rewarded down the road.”
In other council news:
• It did not turn out to be a good night for Bob Ruiz, the town’s electrical inspector, because by the end of the meeting, he was the town’s former electrical inspector.
Vice Mayor Griselia Digiacomo made a motion that he be terminated, new councilperson Susana Guasch issued a second and a vote was taken. The vote was 3-2 to pass the motion.