Hialeah privatizes garbage collection in a $54 million dollar contract with Progressive

Attorney Grant Smith, representing Progressive Waste Solutions, thanks the council on Tuesday.
Attorney Grant Smith, representing Progressive Waste Solutions, thanks the council on Tuesday. el Nuevo Herald.

After an almost four-hour debate, the Hialeah City Council approved privatizing garbage collection service in the city and granted a contract to Progressive Waste Solutions.

With the unanimous vote of its seven members, the council decided to grant the eight-year contract for a total of about $54 million.

“We’re thankful for the trust given to us by the Council,” said Grant Smith, an attorney for Progressive.

“What’s important here is to find the best service at the best price for citizens … and not have to increase prices,” Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez told el Nuevo Herald. “We”ll save about $17 million. … The thing is to not have to increase the rate that citizens pay [for the service].”

During the debate, which came to a close at about 11 p.m., Armando Vidal, director of public works, told the council members that the privatizing option for the garbage collection service was not the only alternative, but emphasized that not implementing it would require for the city to increase tariffs and make a considerable investment in the purchase of trucks, calculated at $5 million.

Progressive’s proposal was considered better than one made by the Waste Management company. Representatives for a third company, Waste Pro, tried unsuccessfully for their offer to be considered.

Vidal said Waste Pro had been disqualified at the beginning of June because they were found to have committed a “major material irregularity” when they presented their tariff information, among other required documents.

David Dee and Mark Antonelli, the city’s external consultants in charge of supervising the bidding process, told the council that Progressive presented the most economically affordable offer.

On June 4, the selection committee decided to eliminate Waste Pro for “deficiencies” in the presentation of their application forms.

At the time, the committee determined that the offer made by Waste Pro lacked information in regards to service rates, previous revisions, references and potential subcontracts. On five of the 19 forms required to participate in the bidding process the information was incomplete, the committee said.

Waste Pro’s regional vice president, Raul Mackie, criticized Progressive’s offer because it provided 20 percent less trucks on rotation than what was demanded in the bidding.

After the public session, Mackie said he respects the council decision and that his company wouldn’t take any legal actions.

“We’re in disagreement with the decision taken that night but we respect it,” said Mackie. “We’re not planning to sue the city because it’s not our philosophy to affect the communities we work for. … Besides the ones who will be mainly affected are citizens.”

Roberto Blanco, another Waste Pro representative, said “the city of Hialeah made the biggest mistake. … They don’t know what they’re doing.”